LocalKids Interacting & Learning from County Leaders

On November 17th, a program put on by Central Arizona Students to provide an opportunity for San Tan Valley High School kids to learn and interact with county leaders and representatives took place at the CAC San Tan Valley campus.

Local students from the Florence Unified School District, J.O. Combs School District, and American Leadership Academy Ironwood came together and learned about how county and towns work.

From budget breakdowns, to the responsibilities of different county departments, San Tan Valley kids got an in-depth, but fun, look at what it takes to run the county they live in.

On hand for the event to discuss county and local responsibilities were Supervisor Mike Goodman, Sheriff Mark Lamb, Public Information Officer Joe Pyritz, Director of Pinal County Open Space & Trails Kent Taylor, Executive Board Member for the San Tan Valley Chamber of Commerce Kim Tillery, plus several other county representatives.

The program started with representatives and county leaders discussing county budgets and responsibilities while also relating challenges that come with providing services and support to county residents.

After the introduction and explanation of how county government works a quick team building game put on by the CAC students took place to keep the kids loose and ready to work followed by the kids being seperated into different groups depending upon their interest.

Getting Down to Work

The kids were put into four groups based on their previous interest. Public Resource, Growth & Development, Unity, and Communication. Each group had responsibilities that they needed to address.

Step One: The Problem

Each group was to highlight and discuss the problems that each group faced. For the students that were involved in the Unity group, that meant looking at the problems that are involved when attempting to bring the San Tan Valley community together. Because, even our kids know that it is incredibly difficult to bring our community together and communicate with everyone to keep everyone informed due to our area being large and fragmented.

The students discussed how hard it was to stay informed in our area whether it was for important events such as the Plan San Tan town hall meetings, or for community entertainment such as CAC’s Fall Festival event.

The students also spoke about how they feel separated and removed from the other schools and debated about the benefits of having a better network of communication between all the schools in San Tan Valley.

Part Two: Solutions

After a quick lunch, the groups gathered together to discuss the solutions to the problems that they have been tasked with.

For Unity, the students looked at ways of creating a center-point of communication for the San Tan Valley area and compared what towns like Queen Creek do to inform residents of community events and town meetings.

Ideas such as creating key areas to promote and advertise San Tan Valley events. Using high traffic areas to put up billboards or signs to inform residents much like how Queen Creek Uses the Ellsworth and Rittenhouse intersection to announce their community events.

Additional solutions were to create a network of businesses that would put up posters or signs to announce events. In conjunction with printed communication they also discussed using Facebook to communicate with parents and using Twitter to communicate with younger audiences.

It was great to watch San Tan Valley’s future take a real interest in our communities problems. The entire event was remarkably entertaining and it was a fantastic to see county and local representative take a huge interest in supporting our area’s youth.