INSIGHT Citizen's Academy

INSIGHT Citizen's Academy

Get your information from the source! The City of Winchester's INSIGHT Citizen's Academy provides area residents, Winchester business owners and their staff an opportunity to discover their city through interactive, hands-on activities and to gain exposure to the wide range of government services, programs, functions and challenges.

2019 Schedule COMING SOON

If you'd like to notified when the 2019 schedule and registration form are available, please click here to let us know and we will be in touch soon.


One evening per week
January 11-April 19, 2018
6:00 - 8:00 pm
 (unless stated otherwise)
Held at various City facilities
$25 per person

2018 Registration Form


Familiarize local residents with the various functions of Winchester’s government; encourage continued involvement; enhance residents’ ability to navigate through the complex system of government services, and provide an avenue for open communication with City officials.

“This program was one of the highlights of my life in Winchester.”


At every session, discuss the City’s past, present and future with department leaders and staff.  Get to know the people that make the daily decisions and find out how and, most importantly, why decisions are made.  Government operations can be complicated if you don’t have the opportunity to be a part of the action.  Now you can get inside, get explanations, meet local officials and gain a new INSIGHT into your local government.

“Everyone we met with was very enthusiastic about sharing with us what they do, and explaining a lot of processes. I really liked the fact that they all wanted questions and were eager to answer them.”


Each session lasts approximately two hours.  A welcome reception is held at the beginning and graduation ceremony with a mock City Council meeting is held at the end of the program. 

During the mock council meeting, you have the opportunity to be a council member and discuss and vote on real-life scenarios.  The mock meeting is led by the Council President and Mayor.


Thursday, January 11 (Location: Rouss City Hall, Council Chambers)
6:00 pm - Welcome Reception | Winchester's History

Thursday, January 18 (Location: Rouss City Hall, Council Chambers)
6:00 pm - The Big Picture with City Manager Eden Freeman

Tuesday, January 23 (Location: Rouss City Hall, Council Chambers)
6:00 pm - Observe City Council Meeting 

Thursday, January 25 (Location: Jim Barnett Park, Active Living Center, Social Hall)
6:00 pm - Budget Overview

Thursday, February 1 (Location: Timbrook Public Safety Center, 3rd Floor)
6:00 pm - City's Infrastructure & Capital Projects

*Optional* Tuesday, February 6 (Location: 141 Fort Collier Road, meet at the Juvenile Detention Center)
6:00 pm - Tour of the Regional Jail and Juvenile Detention Center

Thursday, February 8 (Location: Timbrook Public Safety Center, 3rd Floor)
6:00 pm - Police  |  E-9-1-1  |  Tour of Public Safety Center

Thursday, February 15 (Location: Shawnee Volunteer Fire Station, 2210 Valor Drive, corner of Weems Lane & Valor Drive)
6:00 pm - Fire & Rescue  |  Tour of Station

*Optional* Tuesday, February 20 (Location: City Hall, Council Chambers)
6:00 pm - Planning  |  Zoning & Inspections

Thursday, February 22 (Location: WDSS, 24 Baker Street)
6:00 pm - Social Services

*Optional* Tuesday, February 27  (Location: Joint Judicial Center)
6:00 pm - Winchester Sheriff  |  Commonwealth Attorney  |  Clerk of the Circuit Court

Thursday, March 1 (Location: City Hall, Council Chambers)
6:00 pm - Treasurer  |  Commissioner of the Revenue

*Optional* Tuesday, March 6  (Location: John Handley High School)
6:00 pm - Winchester Public Schools  |  Tour of John Handley High School

Thursday, March 8 (Location: Jim Barnett Park, Active Living Center, Social Hall)
6:00 pm - Transit  |  Emergency Management

Thursday, March 15 (Location: Meet at Rouss City Hall)
5:30 pm - Public Utilities  |  Tour of Water Treatment Plant (transportation provided)

*Optional* Tuesday, March 20 (Location: Opequon Water Reclamation Facility, Rt. 7)
6:00 pm - Tour of Wastewater Treatment Plant

Thursday, March 22 (Location: Old Town Welcome Center, 33 E. Boscawen Street)
6:00 pm - Old Town Winchester  |  Parking  |  Walking Tour Downtown

Thursday, March 29 (Location: TBD)
6:00 pm - Economic Redevelopment  |  Tourism

Thursday, April 5 (Location: City Yards, 301 E. Cork Street)
6:00 pm - Public Works  |  Tour of City Yards  

Thursday, April 12 (Location: Jim Barnett Park, War Memorial Building)
6:00 pm - Parks & Recreation

Thursday, April 19 (Location: Rouss City Hall, Council Chambers)
6:00 pm - Dinner  |  Mock Council Meeting  |  Graduation Ceremony

NOTE: Schedule is subject to change.  INSIGHT participants will be notified of the final schedule prior to the start of the program.

“Great program for new citizens to area and employees of agencies that interact with the city government."

Program Registration   

2018 INSIGHT Registration Form                    
Registration Deadline: January 8, 2018

  • Prior to the start of the program, you will receive the complete program schedule with meeting locations via email.
  • Fee to participate in the INSIGHT Academy is to help cover the cost of materials, transportation and food.
  • INSIGHT alumni are welcome to participate during any portion of the academy at any time.
  • Space is limited to 30 participants.  Be sure to register early to reserve your spot.
  • NOTE: Because these activities create obligations for City personnel, we ask that you make every reasonable effort to attend all scheduled events.

“If I were Emperor of Winchester, I would make this program mandatory.”


  • Gain a deeper understanding of how local government works from the people in the government who directly serve you
  • Meet government leaders and staff members and visit various government facilities
  • Understand how you can become engaged in public affairs
  • Participate in discussions with City staff about successes and challenges
  • Serve as a role model for other community residents interested in social change
  • Help foster an environment that contributes to the quality of life for all residents
  • Gain the knowledge needed to become a member of a City advisory board or commission
  • Help build a livable, sustainable community

“Having the opportunity to meet the staff first-hand was the best part - as it made the workings of the government come to life.”


The INSIGHT Citizen’s Academy was created in 2004 in an effort to open communication between the citizens and the City of Winchester. 

The International City and County Management Association (ICMA) featured Winchester’s INSIGHT Citizen’s Academy as a case study at its 2009 leading practices conference.  City Managers from across the country attended the conference to learn about proven programs in other communities so that they may implement similar programs at home.  Being featured at ICMA’s conference is a compliment to the program and an honor for the City of Winchester.

Since 2004, over 350 people have graduated from the program and many have gone on to serve on an advisory board and Council (i.e. Les Veach, John Tagnesi, Milt McInturff, Art Major, John Hill, Kevin McKannan and Bill Wiley). 

You won't believe all there is to discover at the City of Winchester’s INSIGHT Citizen’s Academy!

“Great job by the City. It really makes one feel they can be a part of things.”

Amy SimmonsAmy Simmons
Communications Director

Rouss City Hall
15 North Cameron Street
Winchester, VA  22601

(540) 667-1815, ext. 1670
Fax (540) 722-3618