Jacob Cox receives 2019 Youth Legacy Award

Jacob Cox accepts the Youth Legacy Award from Mayor Honea on the 2019 State of the Town stage.

Jacob Cox accepts the Youth Legacy Award from Mayor Honea on the 2019 State of the Town stage.

As part of the 2019 Marana State of the Town Luncheon last week, the Town handed out their third annual Youth Legacy Award.


The Marana Town Council created the Youth Legacy Award in order to acknowledge youth in the community who make Marana a better place for everyone. Recipients of this award benefit others in the community through acts supporting:

Heart: promoting a healthy and supportive environment for youth;

Body: Fulfilling essential needs such as food, shelter, and safety; or

Mind: Creating educational opportunities enriching young minds. 

This year the nominees were evaluated by a panel made up of Town staff and members of the Marana Citizens Forum.

Jacob Cox


 For the last three years, Jacob Cox has run the school supplies drive at Rattlesnake Ridge Elementary. He began in 2015 as a third grader, and the intent was to take school supplies with him on his summer trip to Peru and deliver to a small school in the mountains where many students didn't even have shoes to wear, much less have supplies to use for learning.

Jacob expected to have a few handfuls of crayons, pencils and some notebooks to take with him, but when he went to pick up the supplies from the drive, the boxes were overflowing. The response from the students, teachers and parents were overwhelming.  

When he went back to school after his summer break in Peru, he made another presentation to his school with photos of some of the students who received the supplies. The joy on the faces of the students who were getting their very first backpack, or their own box of crayons for the first time, is indescribable.

Jacob was limited on what he could take with him to Peru, so to ensure all supplies went to a new home, he worked with another school in the district to get the supplies to the teachers and students who needed a little help. Jacob went on to run the supply drive for the next 3 years, up until his last summer in elementary school in 2018.

Marana Honors Roher Family with 2016 Marana El Tour Family Award

Last November, more than 300 cyclists participated in the first ever Marana segment of El Tour de Tucson. This brand new, 28-mile distance gave riders of all ability levels the chance to participate in one of Arizona’s most popular cycling events. Marana prides itself as a family-friendly community with a variety of amenities that serve kids and adults alike. This shorter segment of El Tour fit perfectly within Marana’s all-inclusive appeal.

To celebrate this inaugural event, Marana invited participating families to post pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from their ride day. Town staff then selected one family as best representing the spirit of this event. At last night’s Town Council meeting, the Roher family received the Marana El Tour Family Award.

Ryan Roher first began cycling in group events with his two sons, Aiden, age 15, and Elim, age 12, in early 2016. They participated in both the Cochise County Cycling Classic and El Tour de Mesa before they were finally able to ride in an event in their hometown of Marana.

Ryan has always seen cycling as an ideal activity for the whole family. “Riding is a sport that anyone can do, no matter their age, fitness level, or body composition. Even non-athletes can ride a bike, so it’s a great way to spend time together doing something that is a healthy lifestyle choice.”

The Roher family, who live in Gladden Farms, moved to Marana in 2012. With easy access to several new bike paths, families like the Rohers enjoy plenty of outlets for healthy living. Throughout the year, Marana offers a variety of runs, rides, and swims, all offering participants the chance to get out and enjoy our beautiful community. To keep up with all Marana’s events, be sure to visit


Marana Seeks Youth Delegates for League of Arizona Cities and Towns Annual Conference

Marana is looking to appoint three youth delegates to attend the League of Arizona Cities and Towns annual conference.  The ideal candidates will be aspiring leaders who care about making a difference in their community.

This event will take place on Wednesday, August 24 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona. Marana will provide transportation costs and registration fees for attendees.

During the youth program, delegates will engage with their peers and with state leaders on a number of important issues affecting young people.  In the morning, the Governor’s Youth Commission will present to the delegates in a session dedicated to inspiring community leadership, in particular as it relates to the GYC’s five core issues: substance abuse, bullying, teen dating violence, distracted driving, and civics education.

Following this stimulating conversation, the delegation will participate in Learning through Laughter.  During this exercise, attendees will learn confidence and leadership through improvisation and comedy. Tristan Gandolfi, Founder and CEO of Humor Writes will lead delegates through a fun, interactive workshop.

Finally, youth will have an opportunity to network with other students and display poster boards that highlight unique programs or ideas from the various youth councils.

If you are interested in participating in this program, please complete the short application here by Wednesday, July 27, at 4:00 p.m. If you have any further questions, please contact Tony Hunter at or by calling (520) 382-1982.  For more information and for the full event schedule, click here.

Please note that all students must have signed permission forms from parent or guardian and permission from school to attend conference.

Explorer program educates students in law enforcement

Originally published in Tucson Local Media. Written by Brad Alis. Photography by J.D. Fitzgerald

A lot of children say they want to be police officers when they are young, but many set the dream aside as new interests and passions enter their lives. For those in Marana who really believe they want to enter law enforcement, there is a Marana Police Explorers, which gives high-school-age students the chance to get a hands-on feel for what it is like to be in law enforcement. 

“What we do is give them the real world, realistic training to make sure this is a career field they really want,” said Marana Police Officer Kevin Litten, who handles community outreach for the department, including all the volunteer programs. “To help give them that education so they don’t have to waste time as they are older if this is something they don’t really want to do.”

The program is open to Marana area teens ages 14 to 20 who have a clean background and a sincere interest in a career in law enforcement. Being able to represent the Marana Police Department is an important part of the selection process.  

“When we select these Explorers, we want a person who is going to be community oriented,” said Litten. “These Explorers represent this department just as much as I do, so we are looking for that right person.”

Litten admits he spends a lot of time with the program. As someone who went through the program, he calls it a “passion,” and tries to get the students out in the community as much as possible. 

“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Explorer Kyra Schraeder. 

They handled both security and traffic detail at the Star Spangled Spectacular, and will help with traffic duty as much as possible. They have been active in getting area children fingerprinted and as of June had fingerprinted over 300 students. 

They get internship credit with Marana and Mountain View High School for being in the Explorers program. They have to complete a form each week and write a short paragraph about what they learned at each weekly meeting. There is also one monthly weekend training experience. 

The program provides the students with hands-on, real-world law enforcement experiences through training taught by police officers and by participating in ride-alongs. Litten tries to provide a variety of different experiences for the Explorers. At the regular meetings, he has had all aspects of the Marana Police Department, as well as other agencies come out, and do different types of demonstrations.  

“They actually get hands on work with our officer and learn to investigate crimes,” said Litten.  There have also been a number of special events Litten has staged. 

 July was a busy month for the group. Late in the month, the Marana Explorers, along with Explorers from several other agencies, went through the first Explorer Night Moves, a patrol simulation, which had Explorers handling simulated calls during a five-hour shift. They worked in teams of two, with an officer on hand to actually drive the vehicle. 

 “These kids learned what it is truly like to be a police officer hands on,” said Litten. “Anything I would do in a day, they were responsible for on that five-hour shift.” 

Earlier in the month, Litten staged an active shooter situation. They got hands-on experience learning how to deal with a tense, dangerous situation.  

“That is a good thing because it gets them ready for competition, it also lets these kids know who are actively interested in law enforcement, what we do from a law enforcement stand point what we do during one of these situations,” said Litten. “These kids are in high school, so if there is an active shooter in a school they know what to do.”

In April, they went to a competition in California. Thanks to a donation by ASARCO and one of their employees, Ron Knight, they were able to take seven Explorers as well as advisors.

 “If it wasn’t for him (Knight) there is no way we would have been able to do this,” Litten explained. 

 They placed in three team and five individual events. The team events were simulations including high-risk traffic stop, domestic violence and tubular assault. Tubular assault is an active shooter scenario on a plane, or in the case of the competition, on a bus. The team was not prepared for tubular assault, but another event was full and they decided to give the simulation a try. The night before, the advisors watched a handful of online training videos and then 20 minutes before the event, they briefed the team. 

“We had less than 20 minutes of practice,” said Schraeder. “We just went into it like our advisors told us to.”  It worked because they took second place. 

 The Explorers were part of Marana’s bid in the All-American City competition and Litten was on hand to help with the presentation. For his efforts, Litten was recently recognized by the Marana-Foothills Optimist Club at a council meeting. 

 The program not only prepares students for careers in law enforcement, it helps the department find quality officers. The department has a number of former Explorers in their ranks and one of Litten’s charges has been hired, with two more likely to join him after they graduate from Grand Canyon. 

 “Why give that up and let you go somewhere else, when we have already trained you on how we do things in Marana?” asked Litten. 


Read the original article here.