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Karl Rohde Presents First Public Reading of “Hero’s Highway” at Arts on the Lake

Karl Rohde Presents First Public Reading of “Hero’s Highway” at Arts on the Lake

KENT, NY (November 16, 2016) – On Veteran’s Day, The Arts on the Lake, Lake Writers Group hosted its annual reading.  Members of the group gathered to take in an array of writing genres from their peers, including memoirs, poetry, novel excerpts and more.  This year, the event happened to coincide with Veterans Day.  In honor of the sacrifices of the nation’s brave military men and women who serve, the group invited Karl Rohde, also a writer, and the Director of Putnam County’s Veterans Service Agency, to participate.book-cover-actual-jpg

“We could not have been happier to have Karl participate in such a meaningful way at our event,” said group leader, Tom Kersting . “Karl helped us honor those in service to our country and by sharing  several poems that he wrote while serving in Vietnam, he enabled attendees to connect with that experience.”

Rohde’s poetry is part of a Putnam Veterans’ anthology of artistic expression that was recently published under the title of Hero’s Highway. According to John Bourges, the program coordinator for the Dwyer Vet2Vet Program in Putnam, the book was created as a project for the PFC Joseph P Dwyer Vet 2 Vet Outreach Program of Putnam County.

“Our Veterans Outreach Studio meets on the first Wednesday of every month in Patterson to explore veterans’ creativity and artistic talents.  The catalyst for creating the book was to share the unique art and creativity coming out of these meetings with veteran peers at the Veterans Chow Down that took place on November 1st.”

“The response to the book has been tremendous, says Bourges. “We are in our second printing and plan to use the book as a fundraising tool to support other events and activities for our vets. For more information about the book and to obtain a copy, please visit the Dwyer Vet2Vet of Putnam website at www.dwyervet2vetputnam.org/upcoming-events.html.

 

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PUTNAM VETERANS MUSEUM HOSTS WORLD WAR II VETERAN, 97, FORMER CARMEL RESIDENT Lt. Richard G. Hopkins, USN Ret. and Daughter Donate Treasures of Storied Military Service

PUTNAM VETERANS MUSEUM HOSTS WORLD WAR II VETERAN, 97, FORMER CARMEL RESIDENT

Lt. Richard G. Hopkins, USN Ret. and Daughter Donate Treasures of Storied Military Service

Carmel, NY, November 1, 2016 — Veterans and volunteers at the Putnam Veterans Museum recently hosted some very special guests.  World War II veteran Lt. Richard G. Hopkins, USN Ret., and his daughter Susan Hopkins came to Veterans Memorial Park in Carmel to present the museum with artifacts from his service and Putnam County’s past.

Hopkins, 97, was born on Oak Street in Brewster, and his family moved to Carmel when he was young. Now residing in Westchester, Lt. Hopkins likes to visit the museum that exhibits ship models he donated in honor of his late brother, T/5 Reed Hopkins, member of the 1257 Combat Engineers Battalion, U.S. Army.  Reed, also a Carmel native, died in France during World War II.

The ship models include the USS Decatur and USS Porter, two vessels on which Lt. Hopkins served during his 28 years of active duty with the U.S. Navy and an additional 2 years of service in the Reserves. The museum also displays a model of the USS Dahlgren, yet another model that Lt. Hopkins can detail from bow to stern.  The USS Decatur and USS Dahlgren models were made in Sweden by a master ship model-maker; the USS Porter was made in Eastham, Mass., by a master ship model-maker.

The Hopkins family has deep roots in Putnam County’s history, so deep that they precede the Revolutionary War.  Lt. Richard Hopkins is the sixth-generation descendent of Lt. Solomon Hopkins of the 6th Dutchess County Regiment with the New York Militia during the Revolutionary War.  Solomon’s wife, Elizabeth Crosby, was the sister of Enoch Crosby, the famed Revolutionary War soldier and spy.

Susan Hopkins was pleased to present a framed drawing of the Enoch Crosby house in Brewster to complement the historical display that commemorates the soldier/spy story.   “A member of the Daughters of the American Revolution Enoch Crosby Chapter gave it to me; and when I first saw the display here, I thought it would be perfect to donate it,” said Susan.

“We are so grateful to Lt. Hopkins for his service and the generosity of his family,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Adding this beautiful drawing of the Enoch Crosby house to our Veterans Memorial Museum is rare a gift. This historic treasure will be appreciated by many visitors for years to come.”

Putnam County residents and veteran-volunteers were on hand that day to host the Hopkins’. They included Jim McCarthy, Michael Tiren, and Jerry Imbo, all U.S. Army veterans.  A representative from the Putnam County Historian’s Office was on hand to record this very special visit.

“I really enjoyed hearing Richard’s fascinating account of being part of the rescue of the USS Kearney (DD-432) off Iceland after it was torpedoed by U-boats,” said Jim McCarthy, “and the stories of his incredible world-wide adventures spanning the China Sea, Casablanca and Barcelona – when as an engineer he actually met and shook hands with Generalissimo Franco while onboard the USS Coral Sea.”

Not all of Lt. Hopkins years were spent at war on the high seas. There was a time when he was stationed at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and for two years he was in charge of the heartrending job of bringing home the war dead.  After 32 years in the service through wars and conflicts, Lt. Hopkins found it was time for a change.  “I was up for Lieutenant Commander and they said I had to do three years more and I said, ‘You can have it!’, said Hopkins with a hearty laugh. “I got a chance to work for IBM up in Fishkill so I took it.”

On this sunny fall day, Lt. Hopkins donated his display case of service medals, ribbons and awards which include two World War II campaign medals, the World War II Victory medal, combat action ribbons and an impressive number of good conduct medals.  The case will be prominently exhibited along with his service portrait, his brother’s portrait and the beloved ship models – a special and collective display of sacrifice.

Before leaving the museum, Lt. Hopkins stopped to admire another special exhibit.

“That’s the New York!” he exclaimed, pointing to the ship model of the USS New York LPD-21. This post-9-11 United States Navy warship’s bow was forged from the steel of the World Trade Center and its official motto is “Strength forged through sacrifice. Never Forget.”

Lt. Hopkins smiled and commended the veteran volunteers saying, “That’s good that you got that model!”

The Putnam County Veteran Memorial Park is located at 201 Gipsy Trail Road in Carmel. The Putnam Veterans’ Museum is open on Wednesdays from 10 am – 1 pm and is administered by the Putnam County Veterans Service Agency.

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Carmel Girl Scouts Junior Troop 1086 Learns About Government County Executive Helps Girl Scouts Earn “Inside Government” Junior Badge

Carmel Girl Scouts Junior Troop 1086 Learns About Government

County Executive Helps Girl Scouts Earn “Inside Government” Junior Badge

CARMEL, NY – On October 25, 2016, County Executive Odell visited Carmel Girl Scouts Junior Troop 1086 to talk with the girls about working in government. The scouts, ranging in age from seven to ten, were working towards their “Inside Government” Junior Badge and wanted to learn about the types of problems a County Executive addresses.

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The County Executive spent an hour talking and answering questions about her day-to-day responsibilities; how laws are made and why, and the importance of leadership roles among girls and women.  They also discussed 16 year-old Sybil Ludington and her bravery as she rode through the dark of night to alert militia forces to the approach of British troops.

After the presentation, the girls presented Odell with her own “Inside Government” badge and named her an honorary member of the Carmel Junior Troop 1086.

For more information on joining Girl Scouts or volunteering, visit the Carmel Girl Scouts website: carmelgirlscouts.org or come to the Carmel Girl Scouts Craft Fair at Carmel High School on Saturday, November 19th from 11am-3pm.

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250 Flags Frame Lake Gleneida in Honor of Veterans Day Row of Honor Raises Funds and Gives Thanks to our Military Vets

250 Flags Frame Lake Gleneida in Honor of Veterans Day

Row of Honor Raises Funds and Gives Thanks to our Military Vets

Completing its fourth year, the Row of Honor continues a Putnam County tradition of respect and gratitude for those who have served in the military this Veterans Day. The Row of Honor is an installation of American-made flags that border Gleneida Avenue on the shores of Lake Gleneida in the Hamlet of Carmel.

“Each Veteran’s Day, we assemble our Row of Honor to give residents the opportunity to publicly acknowledge and thank those who have served their country. This year, the funds raised will support the Putnam County Museum,” said Odell.

The Row of Honor project is a group venture of the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council, Putnam County Veterans Service Agency, the Putnam County Executive and the Legislature. While each branch of the American Armed Forces has been represented in the past, additional organizations have asked and received permission to have their flags added to the Row of Honor as well. The flags will remain on display through the 22nd of November.

“It is rare that Veterans have an opportunity to be recognized and thanked by the public and by elected officials,” said Karl Rohde, Director of Putnam County’s Veterans Service Agency. “The Row of Honor is a symbolic visual reminder to take pause and salute the invaluable sacrifice and bravery of our Veterans.”
Sponsorship of the American-made flags is meant to raise awareness and funds for various Veteran’s programs. County Executive Odell has sponsored flags in special remembrance of the late Veteran Joe Morrissey of Putnam Lake, Mario Antoci of Carmel and Judge John King of Patterson, as well as first responder, retired NYPD Jimmy O’Neill. Monies raised this year will benefit the Putnam County Museum. In the past, the sponsored flags have borne the names of loved ones who died while serving in the military, those presently serving on active duty or simply messages of thanks to area veterans from friends and family.
Veterans Day is commemorated each year on November 11 and is a federal holiday. It marks the official anniversary of the end of World War I when hostilities with Germany ceased on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

Sponsorship for a Row of Honor flag is $100.00. Flags can either be picked up or remain for future tributes. To order a flag, e-mail: rowofhonor@putnamcountyny.gov or call Mim at Putnam County Veterans Service Agency at (845) 808-1620.

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Putnam County Golf Course/Jim Woods, PGA The Transformation of Putnam County Golf Course Putnam County Golf Course – One of a Kind

Putnam County Golf Course/Jim Woods, PGA

The Transformation of Putnam County Golf Course

Putnam County Golf Course – One of a Kind

Having been a PGA Golf Professional for over 20 years I have never seen such a transformation as I have at Putnam County Golf Course (PCGC) over the past four years.  When I first started at PCGC, I was challenged by how our team would provide a private country club experience at a municipal price.  Thanks to County investments in the facility and golf course and the hard work of both the golf and catering staff we have met the challenge.

Golf rounds and catering events have steadily increased each year.  Course conditions are constantly compared to private country clubs thanks to our golf course superintendent John Garger.  I am fortunate to have a staff of highly dedicated and courteous local residents.  This has allowed me to focus on growing the game of golf.

Growing the game is an important part of PCGC’s success.  This season, I worked with the PGA Hope program providing disabled veterans the chance to improve their skills or play golf for the first time.  I have also had the privilege of helping special needs adults offering a six-week program at the course for the Putnam Rehabilitation Program & Habilitation.  Additionally the participation in private lessons, camps and clinics for all ages and abilities and has annually increased, a good sign for the future.

Giving back to the community is an important part of our success.  Providing donations and hosting outings and events with various local charities, PBAs, schools, and many other nonprofits with worthy causes helps make Putnam County Golf Course one of a kind.

 

Jim Woods, PGA Professional

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Putnam County Stands with Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center Against Domestic Violence FOR THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20th at 1:30PM

Putnam County Stands with Putnam/Northern Westchester
Women’s Resource Center Against Domestic Violence

CARMEL, NY – On Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 1:30pm, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and county employees will stand together on the steps of the Historic County Courthouse with the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center (PNWWRC) in an effort to raise awareness against domestic violence. During the month of October, the issue of Domestic Violence is recognized through national awareness campaigns. PNWWRC Executive Director, Ann Ellsworth, will be joined by County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Senator Terrence Murphy and county employees, dressed in purple to demonstrate their support.

A press conference will be held for the PNWWRC to publically thank Senator Murphy for his grants over the past two years to enhance the agency’s Domestic Violence Advocacy services in Putnam County and to highlight those leaders, including County Executive MaryEllen Odell, who have and continue to support the Women’s Resource Center’s mission to end domestic violence and all forms of violence in our county.

The PNWWRC and People Against Domestic Violence (PADV) will also host a Walk to End Domestic Violence on Saturday October 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm at St Mary’s Church, Main Street, Cold Spring. The walk will proceed down Main Street.

The details for the Thursday, October 20th event are as follows:

WHO: Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center Executive Director, Ann Ellsworth, Senator Terrence Murphy

WHAT: Photo and Press Conference to Raise Awareness for Domestic Violence

WHERE: Putnam County Historic Courthouse Steps, Gleneida Avenue, Carmel, NY

WHEN: Thursday, October 20th at 1:30pm

***ALL MEDIA ARE INVITED AND ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND***
**PHOTO AND INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE**

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Odell Presents 153.1M Budget and Sets Record Straight on County Fiscal Policies Proposed Budget Falls within NYS Property Tax Cap of 1%

Odell Presents 153.1M Budget and Sets Record Straight on County Fiscal Policies

Proposed Budget Falls within NYS Property Tax Cap of 1%

County Executive MaryEllen Odell unveiled her proposed $153.1 million budget for 2017 on Thursday, October 6, at the Putnam County Golf Course. At the widely attended meeting of the County Legislature, Odell’s presentation emphasized correction to several areas of contention and misinformation associated with the county’s fiscal policies.

 

For a fifth consecutive year, the proposed 2017 budget promises to protect tax payers, preserve essential services and promote economic growth, while falling within the tax cap limit of 1%. This minor increase will translate to a county property tax increase of about $10 for the average homeowner next year. Odell’s is the sixth consecutive budget that uses less from the General Fund Surplus than the previous year.

 

As a preface to the budget address, Odell covered three issues that have been publicly misrepresented, and misunderstood. “It is important that the 2017 County Budget be analyzed and debated using factual information, not opinion,” said Odell. Her discussion rendered a factual accounting of the County’s bonding debt, which has decreased 15% from $88.3M in 2007 to $76.5M in 2016. On the topic of government spending, Odell reminded the audience that Putnam County ranked second lowest in expenditures per capita of all 57 NYS counties outside of New York City. Adding to that, the 2017 proposed budget represents a total increase in spending of $3M since 2014, which is less than a 1% increase per year.  Finally, she addressed the long-debated Butterfield Senior Center, stressing, among other points, that the county was never going pay 50% of the property tax for the entire Butterfield Campus. The original lease agreement consistently refers to the county’s occupied portion, which is 52.0833% of the property tax on the Lahey Pavilion only.

 

“My promise to Putnam taxpayers has always been to provide a transparent, effective and honest local government that is dedicated to meeting the needs of its citizens,” said Odell.  “This evening’s address has afforded me the opportunity to present a factual representation of how our taxpayers’ money is spent and responsibly invested to meet the long-term fiscal and social needs of the county.”

 

The county’s use of public/private partnerships, which is exemplified by the new Tilly Foster Educational Institute, as well as plans to build better infrastructure across the county, will continue to create an environment that sustains and attracts businesses to Putnam in 2017.  

 

A video and slides of the 2017 Proposed Budget Address can be viewed in its entirety on the county website at: putnamcountyny.com/budget2017.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: During the Budget Address, a slide (#93) was presented, which included an error regarding a grant received from Senator Sue Serino for construction on the Butterfield Senior Center.  The amount stated was $100,000. The actual amount is $250,000.  If you are including any information on this topic, please take care to use the correct dollar amount.

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County Executive & Putnam/N. Westchester BOCES Superintendent Host Ribbon Cutting to Officially Open New Tilly Foster Educational Institute

County Executive & Putnam/N. Westchester BOCES Superintendent Host Ribbon Cutting to Officially Open New Tilly Foster Educational Institute

Event Hosts First Tour of the Test Kitchen and Classroom Environment while Class is in Session

CARMEL, NY – On Tuesday, September 13th, County Executive MaryEllen Odell with Dr. James M. Ryan, District Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer, Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES, announced the official opening of the new Tilly Foster Educational Institute at a ribbon cutting ceremony. Attendees were taken on a tour of the facility’s state of the art test kitchen and classrooms, where they were greeted by BOCES students enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program.

“The reopening of Tilly Foster as the County’s first public institute for career education offers a diversity of benefits by putting an under-used county asset to work,” said Odell. “Rental income from BOCES will serve to offset the costs of maintaining and preserving this beautiful historical property and BOCES’ Culinary Arts program, as well as future programs, including environmental science and veterinary science, give our children greater educational and career options right here in Putnam.”

“Everyone is tremendously impressed with all that has been accomplished,” said Cathy Balestrieri, BOCES Tech Center Director. “All of the efforts and hard work put forth by Putnam County in readying the facility for Tech Center students this month was clearly evident. The attention to detail, the marrying of function and aesthetics, were impressive and went beyond expectations. The Tech Center culinary program at Tilly Foster Educational Institute is now in session — in a state of the art facility! Putnam County is to be recognized and congratulated in moving forward this exciting, new collaboration.”

The county anticipates expanded services and educational opportunities at Tilly Foster Educational Institute, such as early intervention pre-k and adult continuing education classes, as well as support from other private partners, including Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Tilly Foster Educational Institute was designed as a destination for tourists and residents of the County.  When BOCES is not in-session, use of the state-of-the-art teaching kitchen and classrooms will be open to our veterans, libraries, schools, seniors and non-profits.  We also hope to kickoff Putnam’s version of Top Chef, which will incorporate our culinary talents, local farms and eating establishments, as well as dovetailing with BOCES internship opportunities for students.

In complement to BOCES’ Culinary Arts program, Tilly’s Table, set to open on April 1, 2017, will offer the Hudson Valley Region a uniquely enjoyable and educational farm-to-table dining experience, utilizing produce sourced from local farms.

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Tilly Foster Educational Institute- Official Ribbon Cutting & Facility Tour

Tilly Foster Educational Institute – Official Ribbon Cutting & Facility Tour
Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Media FAQ

What took place at Tilly Foster Farm today?

County Executive MaryEllen Odell with Dr. James M. Ryan, District Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer, Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES, announced the official opening of the new Tilly Foster Educational Institute.

Why is this significant?

The reopening of Tilly Foster as the County’s first public institute for career education offers a diversity of benefits by putting an under-used county asset to work: Rental income from BOCES will serve to offset the costs of maintaining and preserving this beautiful historical property and BOCES’ Culinary Arts program, as well as future programs, including environmental science and veterinary science, give our children greater educational and career options right here in Putnam.

In the future, we expect to offer expanded services and educational opportunities, such as early intervention pre-k and adult continuing education classes, as well as support from other private partners, including Cornell Cooperative Extension.

What is the history behind Tilly Foster?

In 2002, the county acquired 199-acre Tilly Foster Farm with $3.9M from East of Hudson Water Quality Funds. The property was purchased to save it from development and to protect our water quality. The county took over management of the property in January 2014, and embraced the challenge to save this historical icon of Putnam’s farming heritage, while making it an economically viable county asset.

Why were renovations needed, and what was done to the site?

After extensive public meetings with Putnam residents, it was determined that Tilly Foster would best serve the community by opening its gates again and offering an educational component, as well as maintaining the site’s farm and agricultural heritage as a way of sustaining itself.  In order to bring Tilly Foster back to life, extensive rehab was required to achieve code compliance, general safety and usability, including infrastructure enhancements/replacement associated with the Water Supply, Power Supply and Septic System.

How much money did it cost to renovate the site?

In the last few years, the county spent $2.4M to renovate various facilities on the property.  Of the $2.4M in renovation costs, approximately $1.1M was used to completely replace the failing water supply, power supply and septic system for the entire site.  In addition, the lodge was renovated and structurally made safe for public access including, bringing all utilities and amenities up to today’s building code requirements.  The remaining funds were used to complete extensive site work, including walls, roads, parking and drainage, and to upgrade and repair buildings 2, 4and 9, also known as, the cottage, “office/classroom space”, and the barn, respectively.

In addition to BOCES educational programming, how else will Tilly Foster be utilized by the community?

In phase two of the renovation, we will complete Tilly’s Table, a Farm to Table venue, which we expect to open by April 1, 2017. The management of this will go out to bid to a private enterprise over the next few weeks, similar to our management arrangement that we currently enjoy at the Putnam County Golf Course.  Use of the venue for weddings and other special events is expected to draw large numbers of clients from the Hudson Valley Region.

Upon completion in spring 2017, the new Tilly Foster will feature a farm and lodge, including classrooms, teaching kitchen, conference room, and farm to table venue. Plans also include a general store and visitor information center located in the main barn.

Tilly Foster Educational Institute was designed as a destination for tourists and residents of the County.  When BOCES is not in-session, use of the state-of-the-art teeaching kitchen and classrooms will be open to our veterans, libraries, schools, seniors and non-profits.  We also hope to kickoff Putnam’s version of Top Chef, which will incorporate our culinary talents, local farms and eating establishments, as well as dovetailing with BOCES internship opportunities for students.

In complement to BOCES’ Culinary Arts program, Tilly’s Table will offer the Hudson Valley Region a uniquely enjoyable and educational farm-to-table dining experience, utilizing produce sourced from local farms.

Additionally, our farm will be a point of collaboration and education among Hudson Valley Farmers and the Keep Putnam Farming movement. We expect the farm to continue to draw families and animal lovers who wish to experience the natural beauty and unique landscape that Tilly Foster offers.

We also expect to enhance our senior meal programs through nutritional education, and healthy farm-to-table produce that is sourced locally at the Tilly Foster farm.

 

 

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P.I.L.O.T Intern Cameryn Curry Expresses Appreciation to County Executive MaryEllen Odell

P.I.L.O.T Intern Cameryn Curry Expresses Appreciation to County Executive MaryEllen Odell

CARMEL, NY—AUGUST 4, 2016

As the P.I.L.O.T. Program has come to a close for many of the summer interns, Cameryn Curry, an intern in the Office of the District Attorney paid a visit to the County Executive’s Office to extend her thanks for the opportunity that had been given to her.

“The P.I.L.O.T. Program is one of the best professional resources offered to Putnam County Youth,” says MaryEllen Odell, “It is a program that I take tremendous pride in and I recommend students to apply, not only to gain real-world experience, but to learn more about the county in which they live.”

Cameryn, a rising senior at Ohio University, is studying political science/ pre-law, and plans on becoming an attorney. “I am blessed to have had the opportunity to work with the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office through the P.I.L.O.T. Program,” says Cameryn, “This has been the most rewarding experience and I cannot thank our County Executive MaryEllen Odell enough for the effort she has put in to this program to help students of Putnam County succeed.”

Through the P.I.L.O.T. Program, students like Cameryn were able to be mentored by professionals in their field of interest for eight weeks. Cameryn said of District Attorney Robert Tendy, “District Attorney Tendy has been an amazing mentor over the course of my internship, and I am honored to have received the opportunity to work with all of the staff at the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office.”

The concept of the Putnam County P.I.L.O.T. Program was introduced by County Executive MaryEllen Odell in 2013 and continues to be supported by the Putnam County Legislature. In conjunction with the Putnam County Personnel Department, with a special thanks to Adriene Iasoni, coordinator of the P.I.L.O.T Program, selected interns are matched with county departments that align best with their interests and fields of study. Through their internships, interns gain real-world experiences, make valuable connections, learn more about how the county government functions, and potentially validate their career choices.