PHOTO: Distinguished Citizen Award recipients are honored during a City Council meeting in 2019. The award is given to residents who complete all three academies offered by the City of Victoria: Citizens Academy, the Citizen Responder program and the Civilian Police Academy.
The City of Victoria is accepting applications for its 2021 Citizens Academy, an eight-week educational program that will provide residents with an inside look at City services, programs, facilities and more.
“This program is a wonderful opportunity for residents to learn more about the inner workings of the City and how we collaborate with local organizations to enhance livability in our community,” said Communications director Ashley Strevel.
The 2021 Citizens Academy will be hosted by the City of Victoria’s Communications & Public Affairs team Thursdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 14-March 11 except on Jan. 28. To protect the health of participants, facial coverings will be required and seating will be spaced to allow for social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be available, and participants will have their temperatures checked before each session.
Attendees will hear presentations each evening from leaders of various City departments and affiliated groups, who will cover topics such as public safety, economic development, infrastructure projects, City services, beautification and opportunities for public involvement. Complimentary dinners will be provided.
There is no cost to register. To ensure adequate social distancing, space will be limited to 20 applicants. Residents are encouraged to apply as soon as possible at www.victoriatx.gov/citizensacademy.
In addition to the Thursday meetings, participants will have the option of attending guided tours of City facilities. Participants who are unable or do not wish to attend the tours in person will be able to view some of the tours remotely, although the weekly Thursday meetings must be attended in person.
The City solicited feedback from past Citizens Academy participants while developing the format for the 2021 program. The 2021 Citizens Academy will preserve elements that residents enjoyed in past programs and also will include brand-new presentations that have never been shared in prior years.
Those who complete Citizens Academy will be awarded a certificate and recognized at a City Council meeting. Participants must attend each of the eight weekly sessions to be recognized. Residents who complete Citizens Academy, the Citizen Responder program (formerly called the Civilian Fire Academy) and the Civilian Police Academy also will be recognized and will receive the Distinguished Citizen Award.
The City has hosted Citizens Academy annually since 2003 to educate residents about local government and encourage active involvement in their community. The program returns this year after being suspended in 2020 to allow City staff to promote the 2020 Census, a mandatory once-per-decade count of all U.S. residents.
“Citizens Academy allows us to meet residents face-to-face, answer their questions and build connections,” Strevel said. “We’re excited to bring this fun and informative experience back safely in 2021.”