MEDFORD, Ore.-- 10 Medford residents have participate in a seven week course called the Citizen Academy. Each week, the "class" learned about a different City of Medford department, ranging from city government, finance, planning, public works and public safety. The course ended Tuesday with a lesson from Medford Fire-Rescue.
Tuesday's lesson quickly became lifelong Medford resident Ryan Rhoden's favorite part of the Citizen Academy.
"You can't beat getting to play with the fire hoses and running through the smoke and going on the ladder. This has been the most hands-on," Rhoden said.
"We wanted to offer an opportunity to residents to learn more about what we do, learn about city services, what impacts them, as well as what's going on in the city," said Medford's Communications and Marketing Manager Kristina Johnsen. "It's a great way to engage with our residents."
That's why Rhoden signed up months ago. He wanted to be more involved in the community.
"I didn't know as much as I thought I did. I found myself in conversations about why is the city doing this? How can we get involved in this? I would love to know more about what's going on and have those opportunities," Rhoden added.
Johnsen said the feedback from the first 10 participants have been great and other residents are hoping they can participate next time. Rhoden recommends the Academy to anyone living in Medford so they can better understand some of what all goes on behind the scenes.
"When you can connect people with the stuff that's going on and you can see the problems that they are trying to wrestle with instead of us becoming complainers, we can actually initiate and get involved and make a difference," Rhoden said.
This class will graduate at the next Medford City Council meeting on November 7th.
If you're interested in becoming a part of the next Citizen Academy class, the City of Medford plans to have another opportunity in February.