Explore Clearwater from the Inside Out

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Explore Clearwater from the Inside Out

If you’re looking for a great way to make new friends, visit behind the scenes and learn exactly how the city of Clearwater works, check out Clearwater 101 Citizens Academy. It’s like attending field trips for adults – for free!

I personally attended Citizens Academy in 2019 and had a ton of fun.

The classes are held once a week for 10 weeks. Once a person graduates, he or she is forever more invited to city special events.

In last year’s Academy, we got to do all kinds of cool activities – climb aboard a fire truck,

try out a fire hose,

don police and fire protective gear,

see where the firemen live in the station – including the bedrooms, movie room, gym and kitchen,

attend a K-9 demonstration,

visit the rarely seen police communications center, see where the city’s vehicles get repaired,

paint sidewalks,

view the traffic cameras around the city, and so much more. We were even given a street sign magnet with our names on them.

And that’s another perk – free stuff!

Some of the departments we visited were the Mayor and City Council, Solid Waste and Recycling, Public Utilities, Fleet Maintenance, Fire and Rescue, the Clearwater Police Department, Communications, Parks and Rec, Clearwater Gas, Engineering, Clearwater Main Library and many more.

The interactive program focuses on educating citizens about the city’s governmental processes.

Elected officials, department directors and other city staff host unique and informative sessions designed to give citizens hands-on experience in city government operations.

And how timely is this? Applications are right now being accepted for the 19th annual Citizens Academy, Clearwater 101, a 10-week program providing citizens with a hands-on learning experience about the people, equipment and infrastructure it takes to run Pinellas County’s second-largest city. The program is planned to begin with orientation on Tuesday, Sept. 8 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The classes that follow will also be on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8:30 p.m. through graduation in November.

Citizens Academy is truly an educational experience for Clearwater residents interested in civic affairs. Sessions are led by elected officials, department directors and city staff who share information about the city’s operations and key issues facing Clearwater today. Participants must attend at least eight of the 10 sessions in order to graduate at the City Council meeting in November.

Applications can be completed online at myclearwater.com/citizensacademy. Residents may also request an application by calling (727) 562-4708.

Previous classes had included 20 to 22 participants. This year’s class may include fewer participants, and safe distancing guidelines will be in place to ensure safety for everyone if in-person sessions are held.

A selection committee will select the participants from the applications received. The committee will judge applications based on responses to questions while ensuring that the class reflects the diversity of the Clearwater community, with representatives from different neighborhoods and sections of the city. For program information or to apply, visit myclearwater.com/citizensacademy. Applications must be received no later than Aug. 3.

What are you waiting for? Apply now so you can be a part of the next graduating class of Clearwater 101 Citizens Academy.

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I’m excited to share the adventures, places and people of Clearwater with you!


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