Origins of LeeGROWS
In 1988, LeeGROWS was born out of the idea that it was important to share the good things going on within the County. A citizen academy program was approved and named LeeGROWS – Lee Government Resource and Orientation Workshop Series. The first class was held Thursday, September 8, 1988 and has proven to be a popular program.
Program's PurposeThe purpose of LeeGROWS has remained the same over the years: to inform residents about the day-to-day operations of county government. It is not designed to, nor has it ever attempted to, discuss and debate the governmental issues of the day.
LeeGROWS has talked about the maintenance of roads, parks, facilities and future construction of facilities, the day-to-day services and programs available to all citizens, and what it all costs. The program has always tried to explain the County Government's attempt to supply daily governmental services to the citizens. LeeGROWS has been a hands-on program designed to examine the daily operations of county government. Simply put, LeeGROWS has tried to explain "where the money goes".
Some Things Never Change
While some aspects of the program have changed with the times, many things have remained the same since 1988:
- There is no admission cost or registration fee.
- Free parking and complimentary lunch are included each week.
- Publicity for the program has always been by word-of-mouth and referral from previous participants.
National Award-Winning Program
In 1989, the LeeGROWS program received a National Association of Counties (NACO) award. NACO is an organization that tries to promote responsible, efficient and cost-effective government at the local level. In awarding the Lee County Board of County Commissioners with the award for LeeGROWS, the certificate cited it as an "innovative and effective program to communicate with the general public."