A Publication of WTVP

This summer Peoria County will host its first annual youth Civic Leadership Program. The program is limited to area high school students and includes spring graduates and fall freshmen. This free program offers students a unique, hands-on experience with county government structure and services. A series of educational sessions showcase many entities within county government and their respective responsibilities. The program reflects the County Board’s strategic goals of partnering for success with our citizens and delivering quality services in a professional manner.

This comprehensive summer course was created and structured to raise interest and awareness of the services and career opportunities Peoria County government offers to young citizens. Course sessions include a mock trial—an exercise to demonstrate the County’s involvement in disaster preparedness—and a mock zoning board of appeals hearing among other interactive, educational activities. Course participants will tour the county courthouse, county jail and the Emergency Services and Disaster Agency.

The Civic Leadership Program is an excellent opportunity for young adults to meet and interact with elected officials and County department supervisors. All leadership sessions are presented by the highest ranking official. During the course, presentations will be given by County Administrator Patrick Urich, Sheriff Michael D. McCoy, Director of Planning & Zoning Matt Wahl and many other qualified County leaders.

The summer Civic Leadership course meets on Thursdays from 10 a.m.-noon, June 21-August 2. A graduation ceremony will be held at the Peoria County Board Meeting on August 9. Session locations vary depending on that week’s agenda, ranging from the County Courthouse for a lesson on recycling and environmental issues to the sheriff’s office for a discussion on crime prevention and a lunch with the sheriff.

The Civic Leadership Program is intended to inspire youth to take an active role in guiding future policy decisions, be it through the election process or possibly by running for public office themselves one day. Ultimately, the course creates a network of young adults committed to improving their community for the future. High school students graduating from Peoria County’s Civic Leadership Program demonstrate the necessary skills to eventually emerge as local leaders. Graduates can even claim themselves to be a civic leader on job applications, college applications and résumés!

We encourage interested students within Peoria County to consider enrolling in this free program as it will define the realities and challenges currently impacting local county government and, consequently, our community. Peoria County’s Civic Leadership Program is also offered free to adults each winter and fall. Course participation is limited to 25 students and determined through an application process. For a summer Civic Leadership application, select “Citizen Involvement” on our website, The application deadline is April 16. For more information on the program, contact County Administration at 672-6056. IBI