Twenty-four residents graduated from the Johnson County Citizens Academy Tuesday night at the County Administration Building.
The Citizens Academy Program (CAP) allows community-minded individuals to discover what makes the high quality of life possible in Johnson County through behind-the-scene tours, hands-on activities and conversations with county commissioners, the county manager and county staff.
The program seeks to enhance citizen knowledge of county operations and services, encourage a unified community identity and increase participation in Johnson County boards, advisory councils and commissions.
Lisa Huston, a graduate from Olathe, said she shared the information she learned each week with her family, friends, neighbors and co-workers and encouraged them to apply for a future academy.
“I loved each and every presentation and the weekly speakers. I think they all did a great job,” Huston said.
Participants attended 10 three-hour weekly sessions that explored the county budget, civic engagement and volunteer opportunities.
“We had over 50 employees throughout the county who have helped contribute to make this program by either giving a presentation, guiding a tour, providing materials or offering support for the Citizens Academy throughout these 10 sessions. Without their efforts, this would not be possible,” said Johnny McFarland, the County Manager’s Office intern who facilitated the program. “We are all deeply thankful for their contributions, which included staying after hours and making sure each session was informative and fun.”
Graduates received a certificate Tuesday night and were connected to a growing network of academy alumni.
Johnson County Commission Chairman Ed Eilert spoke to the graduates about how citizen involvement made a difference throughout the community’s history. He cited the efforts of residents to integrate schools and neighborhoods, to create the county’s library district, to establish Johnson County Community College and to develop the county charter.
“Thank you for your commitment, and we’ll look forward to your future participation and your sharing of ideas for Johnson County Government,” Eilert said.
Any Johnson County residents can apply to a future academy.