Before interning at the Town of Marana, Marana High School senior Jordan Idler didn't know how marketing, video, and local government came together. Now, eight months later, he's had a front row seat promoting Town events, and has even participated in behind-the-scenes development for community outreach and education. His projects have included documenting events, researching other municipalities, and developing a marketing plan.
"It's been a lot of fun," Idler says of his time at the Town of Marana. "I've learned a lot about time management and organizational skills through the program."
Idler is one of a dozen high school students interning at the Town of Marana as part of "Marana 2.0", a new program that combines local government with the public school system. This program offers seniors at Marana High School the chance to learn about local government not by reading a textbook, but through practical, lived experiences. Departments from across the Town, from Police to Special Events to Technology Services, have mentored these students and in turn benefited from their unique contributions. Their year-long curriculum came to a close on April 5, when the students presented to Town Council on their internship experiences. Topics ranged from summarizing their projects, to presenting recommendations on new event ideas and mobile applications.
Idler presented footage from the Marana Cotton Festival, a Town event that occurred last fall.
"I learned how quickly everything moves, and you have to constantly adjust to fit the fast-paced environment," Idler explains of his time filming at the event. "Very different from anything I've experienced before."
After the presentations, each Councilmember took a few moments to congratulate the students on all they had achieved. “What I got from listening to you,” extolled Councilmember Dave Bowen, “is how much ability you have, how ready you are to take on the challenges that you will face. It’s been great hearing from you.”
Councilmember Carol McGorray echoed Councilmember Bowen’s remarks. “I spoke to each of you before the meeting, and I’m so impressed because you’re all part of this same program, and yet you bring such a different viewpoint from your particular experiences to us here on the Council tonight, and I really appreciate that.”
The Town of Marana is pleased that the first year of this program was so successful. “We had nine students present tonight, and these kids worked hard all year to get to this point,” says Town Clerk Jocelyn Bronson, who spearheaded the program. “We’re looking forward to watching this program grow and get better every year.”
As this school year winds down, the Town of Marana is already brainstorming ways to improve the program for next year. During the presentations, Town Management intern Trent Tolton suggested expanding this opportunity to juniors, instead of just seniors. While these plans are strictly preliminary at the moment, there is little doubt that this program will grow and flourish in the years to come.
As for Idler, he will continue to intern at the Town of Marana as part of the summer internship program, and hopes to learn more about the different services provided in local government and the skills required for a future career.