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.


Overview   

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.”


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2023 Schedule* 

Wednesdays, twice monthly
9 am-12 pm (main sessions)
4-6 pm (optional sessions)
Various City facilities

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*Schedule subject to change prior to the start of the program.

Session Dates Topic/Activity Location
W, January 4 Welcome Reception
The Big Picture with the City Manager
City Budget
City Yards, 301 E. Cork St.
W, January 18 Fire & Rescue
Emergency Management

Shawnee Volunteer Fire Station, 2210 Valor Dr. (Training Room)

W, February 1
(Optional)
Tour of the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC)
Tour of the Regional Jail 
Meet at the JDC, 145 Fort Collier Rd.
W, February 15 Police
Emergency Communications (E911)
Timbrook Public Safety Center, 231 E. Piccadilly St.
W, March 1 Planning
Zoning
Code Enforcement

Rouss City Hall, 4th Floor Exhibit Hall

W, March 15
(Optional)
Winchester Public Schools
(Tour of JHHS)

John Handley High School (JHHS)

W, March 29 Old Town Winchester
Winchester-Frederick Co. Tourism
Visitor Center, 1400 S. Pleasant Valley Rd.
W, April 5 Social Services
Winchester Parks & Recreation
Jim Barnett Park Rec Center, 1001 E. Cork St.
W, April 19 Public Services:
Utilities & Public Infrastructure
Public Works
City Trees
Public Transit
City Yards, 301 E. Cork St.
W, May 3
(Optional)
Tours of Water Treatment Plant OR
Wastewater Treatment Plant
WTP = Middletown plant
WWTP = Rt. 7 plant

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  

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  • 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 final 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 form & fee required.
  • Participants must be a resident, own a business, work, or go to school (high school & up) in the City of Winchester.
  • Because these activities create obligations for City personnel, we ask that you make every reasonable effort to attend all scheduled events. Attendance policy: Participants who are absent for more than two regular sessions will be removed from the program. 

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


INSIGHT Citizen's Academy

Benefits 

  • 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.”


History 

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) 535-3659

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