Jennifer was pleased to be involved in the Rotary Mayors of the Week program again this year. The program has been running since 1969, providing local high school students an opportunity to meet with various City staff and departments and get a first-hand look at how their municipal government operates. 
This year we had four students participate.  The schools select students who show civic leadership and an interest in helping their communities.  The students meet at various City locations each afternoon for a week, accompanied by Rotarians.  They are given tours of City facilities, meet with senior staff and the Mayor and attend a City Council meeting.  Following this, they attend a Rotary meeting to share their experiences with our club.
The students were able to meet the new Mayor and Council the week of December 5.  Jo-Anne Wheeler accompanied them to the Mayor’s Office and a library tour on Monday.  Dr. Tracy Bray joined them for a tour of City Hall, the Sports and Wellness Centre and the Transportation and Operations department on Tuesday.  Jennifer joined them for the tour of the water and wastewater plants and Belleville’s HR department on Wednesday.  President Darrell accompanied them for a tour of the police station and Council chambers on Thursday, and Shannon Neely did the tour of the Fire Department on Friday.  Shannon and Jennifer also joined the students for a lunch with Joe Reid and Councillor Thompson on Friday. Two students have joined us today, Emma Lee Hogan from Nicholson Catholic College and Ben James from Albert College.  A third student, Joshua Choicine was unable to attend, but provided his comments on the program as well.
Emma-Lee Hogan, a Grade 12 student at Nicholson Catholic College was honoured to be chosen to represent her school in the Mayors of the Week program.  She will speak about a few things that she felt were very interesting.  First stop was the public library, an inside and literally on the roof tour of the building.  In addition to books, there were paintings and art pieces by many artists.  Day two they met Joe Reid of the Transportation and Operations Department of the City, a very enthusiastic representative.  Joe and his crew are the first service on the scene if there is bad weather.  Next time you see a snow plow, think of Joe and his crew.  It was them who helped clean up the debris when the storm blew the roof off of Chilango's downtown.  Emma-Lee noticed there was a lot more chemistry involved at the water treatment plan and she was very impressed with their tour guide and the information provided.  Each place the students visited has a very important part to play in the City.  Thank you to all the people the students met through the week.  Can't forget about City Hall where they learned about everything from operations to finance and how a City Council worked.  Belleville is growing rapidly from village, to town to now a great City and it is amazing how everything and everyone works together.  Emma-Lee plans on studying psychology, but having finished this Mayors of the Week program, may contemplate government, especially seeing forensics in action and mental health training and support provided by police officers at the Belleville Police Service.  Thank you to everyone for such a great opportunity to learn.
Ben James is a student at Albert College and he thanked the Rotary Club of Belleville for the opportunity to see the workings of the City and responsibilities serving as mayor.  One Department that stood out was the Transportation office and all the farm equipment that the City has.  Ben gained knowledge on maintaining roads and the systems in place.  He saw first hand the workings of local government and what goes on behind the scenes.  How much money and effort goes into what seems to be simple operations.  Joe Reid was super positive and made everything interesting and fun.  The program will be beneficial to Ben in the future as he may now consider working for the City of Belleville.  Thank you.
Joshua was unable to attend the Rotary lunch as he was competing for Eastside Secondary at the COSSA Ski Championships.  Josh thanked the Rotary Club of Belleville and sponsors who made it possible for him to participate in the Mayors of the Week program.  He has used the Quinte Sports and Wellness Center on numerous occasions.  Getting a look into the logistics and what it takes to run this facility from a mechanical standpoint was interesting.  He learned that the building was designed for energy and heat efficiency.  The students were able to see the infrastructure and machinery used to create and maintain the ice rinks.  A fantastic part of the week was the tour of the water and sewage treatment center.  Walking through the facility, seeing and learning about the well engineered steps in each process was eye-opening.  The week changed Josh's perspective on municipal politics and the City operations.  Josh truly felt like a mayor for the week!