Those of you that follow me in this blog or through the St. Augustine Record know that I get excited about our community. This week’s column demonstrates an important effort by our community leaders to give the citizens the opportunity to learn about how our local government entities work. We are often quick to criticize and complain. But it is important to take the time to ask questions and learn. The Citizens’ Academies available in my community are tools that we are given so we can learn and expand our knowledge base. I know that after my husband and I attended the Palm Coast Citizens’ Academy a few years ago, we came away from the sessions with a much broader understanding of what it takes to make things run smoothly. And we got to know many of our city’s department heads. My husband works in County government (in another county) and even he learned a lot and gained some new perspectives.
Although we won’t always be happy with all of the decisions made by our community leaders, by trying to understand the reasons for the decisions, we take the first step in working together with them. So what can you do?
- Attend your city or county council meetings
- Listen to our leaders and speak up when you have the chance.
- Get to know your council members. Email them or call them. They want to hear from you and want to know what you want.
- Get involved. Think about serving on an advisory board.
- If your community offers a Citizens’ Academy, apply, attend and learn.
- Consider running for a local government council — you may be able to change things that you believe could be done better.
If you are a Flagler County resident and want to learn more about the inner-workings of your community government, here is your opportunity. And don’t forget that you can attend any County Board meeting to learn and listen too. You can also view the meetings live on Channel 198 on Brighthouse and will find a link to Flagler County Government TV programming on the homepage of the county website.
To learn more about the Flagler County Citizens Academy and other county activities and issues, visit www.flaglercounty.org. The Flagler County Sheriff’s office and the City of Palm Coast also offer a Citizens’ Academy to local residents. Visit http://www.myfcso.us/citizens-academy.aspx to learn about the Sheriff’s Office program or contact Marsha Lidskin at the City of Palm Coast at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about the city’s program.
I’ll be sharing more about my experience in the Flagler County Citizens’ Academy in the weeks to come. I’ll be adding a page to my blog devoted to the academy so watch for it soon. I hope you’ll stay turned and learn with me!
No matter where you live, remember that it is your community. Don’t be afraid to get involved or learn more about how things work. What does your community do to promote citizen involvement? Leave me a comment and share with our readers.
Read this week’s column by clicking on the title above or the link below. You’ll also find news of some upcoming events in our area. As always, thanks for reading!
- Citizen Police Academy Returns This Fall (bluecoastlive.wordpress.com)
- Improve Your Content and Contacts at a Citizen’s Police Academy (forensics4fiction.wordpress.com)
- How to build more cooperation in your community (smallbizsurvival.com)