Getting a look behind the scenes is an exciting way to see how things work, and this is exactly what some Great Bend youngsters got to do on Friday during the Youth Academy classes.
“This is such a fun event for the children, they really seem to like it,” DARE Officer Paul Millard said. “They really get to see how the city works and they get to see all the hard work that goes into it. The kids really like to come out and have some fun with their friends.”
Approximately 43 middle school students watched demonstrations by the Great Bend Police Department. They saw how thermal cameras work and participated in an obstacle course at the Great Bend Fire Department. They visited the Public Works Department, pet animals at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo and learn how water is filtered at the Wetlands Waterpark.
They also visited the Waste Water Treatment Plant and Park Department before being treated to lunch with Mayor Joe Andrasek and Great Bend City Council members.
“Youth Academy is such a great experience, you really get to know your town a lot more,” seventh grader Diego Sanchez said. “It really helped me understand more about the city.”
The Youth Academy is sponsored annually by the City of Great Bend for students in grades seven and eight.
The students’ last stop was the City Office for an idea exchange with Interim City Administrator George Kolb.
According to Millard, the academy allows for hands-on learning for the students. After a second group meets this summer, Great Bend will have conducted a total of 46 different Youth Academy classes over the past 19 years, representing over 1,500 student participants.