INSIGHT Citizen's Academy

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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.


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. 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.”

The goal is to 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.”


2022 Schedule 

NOTE: 2023 Schedule coming this fall and may be different from the 2022 program.

2022 Retreat Date Topic/Activity Location
#1: Opening W, February 16 Welcome Reception
Winchester History
The Big Picture with the City Manager
Lunch and Q&A with Council
Commissioner of the Revenue & Treasurer
City Budget
City Yards (enter from Pall Mall Street)
#2: Public Safety W, March 16 Police & Emergency Communications (E911)
Lunch at Shawnee Fire Station
Commonwealth's Attorney & Winchester Sheriff
Emergency Management
Fire & Rescue

Morning: Timbrook Public Safety Center, 231 E. Piccadilly St.

Afternoon: Shawnee Volunteer Fire Station, 2210 Valor Dr.

#3: Development Services W, April 20 Economic Development
Planning, Zoning & Inspections
Lunch Downtown 
Old Town & Tourism

Morning: Rouss City Hall, Exhibit Hall

Afternoon: Visitor Center, 1400 S. Pleasant Valley Rd.

#4: Public Services W, May 18 Public Works
Tour of Water & Wastewater Treatment Plants*

City Yards, 301 E. Cork Street

*Transportation provided

#5: Closing W, June 15 Social Services
Winchester Public Schools
Parks & Recreation
Closing Ceremony
Jim Barnett Park, Rec Center

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  

NOTE: Subject to change for future programs. 

  • Fee: $65 (check payable to: City of Winchester, Attn: Communications Director, 15 N. Cameron Street, Winchester, VA 22601)
  • Prior to the start of the program, you will receive the complete program schedule with meeting locations via email.
  • INSIGHT alumni are welcome to participate during any portion of the academy at any time.
  • Space is limited to 25 participants. Registration required.
  • Open to City of Winchester residents, business owners, and workers only.
  • 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.”

INSIGHT Citizen's Academy


  • 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 400 people have graduated from the program and many have gone on to serve on an advisory board and Council (Les Veach, John Tagnesi, John Hill, Bill Wiley, Phil Milstead, & Madelyn Rodriguez). 

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