We just learned that our COWnty has a very special program to give citizens an opportunity to learn about COWnty government and ways to become involved in our COWmunity. Last year participants toured a jail, met elected officials, watched a mock trial in a real courtroom, learned about the challenge of balancing a government budget, heard about emergency services, explored a tidal pool and learned interesting facts about our COWnty. They had the opportunity to learn about the broad array of programs and services provided by the COWnty, the goals and objectives of departments and the complexity of modern government financing. They also had the chance to ask questions and to hear from representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, Health Department, Human Services Agency, Planning and Building, Public Works, Library services and others.
The Citizens Academy serves as a training ground for volunteers. The sessions are held in the evening and a couple of Saturdays. It is open to anyone who lives or works in San Mateo County. Due to space constraints, there are only a limited number of seats. Participants are chosen on a first come, first enrolled basis.
The next session of the San Mateo County Citizens Academy will be in Spring 2009. If you are interested send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive updates when available.
A local academy that encouraged and prepared citizens to serve on our many COWmmissions and COWmmittees is something our Town should explore. There does not seem to be enough done to let COWs know about the functioning of Town government and the opportunities for participation. Democracy depends on participation.