Develop and offer a Lexington Citizens' Academy in the fall of 2009 to encourage civic involvement from previously unengaged citizens and provide transparency for Lexington's Town government.
Two-hour sessions one evening a week for 9 weeks in the fall. Information-based sessions focusing on one or two specific departments, including schools.
Describe programs and services (ideally with hands-on component)
Talk about interactions with committees and other departments
Answering participants' questions.
Enrollment of up to 25 participants; welcome everyone but give preference to those with less than 5 years of experience in Town Meetings or on a committee.
Broad outreach and publicity including print and online media, sandwich board at the Farmers' Market, notification to neighborhood and community groups, and sign-up through Lexington Community Education.
Ongoing evaluation of sessions by participants, with a longer evaluation at the end of the Academy.
Graduation ceremony to award shirts and take photos, following a televised Selectmen's meeting where participants are recognized and thanked
Participants enjoyed the Academy and provided great feedback. Several said they would recommend it to their friends and relatives.
Initial perceptions were changed as participants learned more about Town government and interacted with department staff.
Staff were impressed with the curiosity and enthusiasm of the participants.
Hold a Lexington Citizens' Academy annually in the fall; consider also in spring if fall session becomes over-enrolled. The Citizens' Academy has been held every fall since 2009, and recruitment begins in the summer.