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These kids arent in trouble
Annual Youth Academy set for this and next Friday
slt Youth-Academy-boy
Kids take part in the 2014 Great Bend Youth Academy. This years academy takes place this Friday and Friday, June 12. - photo by Tribune file photo

 Tentative schedule for 2015 Great Bend Youth Academy, Fridays June 5 and 12

8–8:20 a,m. - City Hall, donuts and orange juice will be served

8:30–8:55 a.m. - Waste Water Treatment Plant

9:05–9:55 a.m. - Street Department

10:05–10:35 a.m. - Park Department (zoo) (pop, cookies and water)

10:40–11:15 a.m. - Police Department (in Wetlands Waterpark parking lot)

11:25–noon - lunch with the Mayor and City Council Members at Gambino’s Pizza

12:15–1:05 p.m. - Fire Department Station 2

1:20-2 p.m. - idea exchange with the city administrator

2 p.m. - dismissal

 If you see local youth being hauled around Friday and Friday, June 12, in police cars or in the back of ambulances it is not because they are in trouble with the law or injured in an accident, said Jefferson Davis, Great Bend Police Department School liaison officer. 

Approximately 80 seventh and eighth graders are participating in the annual City Youth Academy classes sponsored by the City of Great Bend. The students are gaining a behind the scenes glance at the different city departments, Davis said. 

According to City Administrator Howard Partington, the academy allows for hands on learning for the students. This summer’s Academies brings a total of 42 different Youth Academy Classes the city has conducted over the past 14 years, representing over 1,390 student participants.

The students participate in training exercises with the Police Department’s Tactical Team, shoot fire hoses, are involved with a mock medical emergency at the Fire Department, drive high loaders, ride 35 feet in the air in bucket trucks at Public Works, and also make stops at the. Waste Water Treatment Plant and Park Departments before being treated to lunch with Mayor Mike Allison and City Council Members.

Partington said an important aspect of the academy is an idea exchange with City Leaders. “The exchange insures that the youth have input into their city government. Many city projects have been completed as a result of this important session.”

Past ideas have been improvements to the Wetlands Waterpark and the skate park.

Another success of the academy is the number of former participants who are returning to Great Bend to live and work after they have graduated from college. Annually, city leaders visit state universities to re-connect with past Youth Academy participants and other Great Bend High School graduates.

Great Bend businesses, The chamber of commerce and city administrators have a plan in place to specifically help college graduates from GBHS find jobs in Great Bend that specifically fits their career fields. In recent years, Great Bend had seen a return of many past Youth Academy participants who are now graduating from college. 

 Allison had always said, “we want to be known as the city that listens to our kids,” Allison said. “We want our kids to have so much fun growing up in Great Bend, that someday, when they are ready to settle down and start a family, we hope they will remember how much fun Great Bend was for them and will consider coming back to live.” 

For more information, contact Davis at 620-793-4120.