ESCANABA - Participants in a local leadership program got a taste of what it's like to be involved in community government when they met with local officials, then held their own mock council meeting Thursday.
Twenty "students" are enrolled in this year's Delta Force, a program for individuals to learn about and experience different aspects of the community so they can become more involved as citizens and leaders.
The Delta County Chamber of Commerce organizes the nine-month leadership program. This year's Delta Force class consists of 19 individuals from the local business community as well as a local high school student.
Jenny Lancour | Daily Press
Delta Force participants Mandy Vardigan and Ron Miaso, above, discuss strategy for a pretend new business at Escanaba City Hall Thursday.
"I enjoy the program a lot," commented Ben Troutman, 16, a junior from Gladstone High School. "It's fun and it's helping me learn a lot about the community."
After attending Thursday's Government Day session, Troutman said he learned that being a government official is not for him. He also gained more respect for community leaders, he said.
The day's agenda began with a a presentation on Delta County's history by County Commissioner Tom Elegeert, also a local historian.
Delta Force participants then asked questions to a panel of local leaders such as why they decided to run for office and what's been their biggest challenge.
Local government representatives included Escanaba Mayor Marc Tall, Gladstone Commissioner Joe Maki, Delta County Road Commissioner Dennis Stanek, Ford River Township Supervisor Rachael Fountaine, Masonville Township Supervisor Peter Brock, and Escanaba School Board member Marilyn Noble.
Guest speaker was Delta County Commissioner Ann Jousma-Miller, who spoke about communicating with state government and the importance of leaders working together to solve issues.
During a mock council meeting in the afternoon, Delta Force participants were assigned leadership roles in the pretend city of Delta Force. Department heads presented their financial needs to council which weighed all the concerns and approved a surplus budget in the end.
The day ended with a presentation by Delta County Clerk Nancy Kolich on the process of running for office or joining a committee.
Next month, the group will visit area industries as part of Economic Development Day.
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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, firstname.lastname@example.org