Ever wonder what it takes to run a city? 

If serving as a juror in a mock trial, designing a soccer complex or riding on patrol with a police officer seems interesting, consider applying for acceptance into the free, 10-session City of Cody Citizen Academy offered this fall.

The deadline is Aug. 22.

Whether you’re a Cody newcomer or native, if you’d like to participate in city government or are just curious about day-to-day municipal operations, the Citizen Academy is an opportunity to become a better informed and more involved citizen. 

The 10 weekly Wednesday sessions taught by city employees are 6-8 p.m. Meals are provided for all classes. 

Participants, called cadets, accepted into the program will be invited to a  Sept. 18 “ice breaker” with a light catered dinner at 5:30 in Mentock Park. Cadets will meet instructors as well as Mayor Matt Hall and city council members. 

The academy will end with a final Nov. 20 awards night. 

Founded in 2015, and offered again in 2017, the academy is open to retirees, laborers, business owners and administrative professionals among other residents from all walks of life. Academy coordinators will screen applications to ensure cadets accepted into the class represent a cross-section of the community. 

The academy provides participants a better understanding of how local government works by dividing city services into eight activity-based sessions. Topics include administration and council, finance, utilities, streets, billing, buildings, planning and zoning, legal, parks and recreation and police. 

While some sessions take place at City Hall, others will be scheduled at other locations such as the streets shop, law enforcement center, county courthouse and Rec Center. 

The intention is to strengthen community interaction and involvement as cadets meet and interact with city employees. Three main goals are to:

• Afford cadets a chance to experience the inner-workings of city departments.

• Provide a better understanding of city management, operations and procedures. 

•Offer a chance for city department heads to learn from participants.

The academy experience has motivated former cadets to become better citizens and to contribute to their community. 

Past cadets include Hall, city mayor; Heidi Rassmussen, council member and former planning and zoning board member; Richard Jones, P&Z member; Cindy Katz, public art committee; and Diane Ballard, council member. 

After completing past academies, cadets summarized their experience. 

Katz, who moved to Cody after living in Santa Fe, N.M., and California, was a new resident when she and her husband joined the 2015 class.

“I felt it was a really wonderful opportunity to learn how the city worked,” she said afterward. “It was also a way to meet city staff and other members of the community who joined (the academy) to better understand how the city operates.”

A 2017 cadet, Cody native Rick Stonehouse was a recently retired teacher when he signed up. He now sits on the Shoshone Recreation Board.

“I think we all take so much for granted and we tend to be complacent about our local ‘systems,’ hoping or assuming things just happen,” he said. “But to actually see how the streets and water systems are operated and maintained, to be part of a mock trial in the courts and to see how our law enforcement operates – those were especially interesting.”

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