by Emma Wymore, Teen Advisory Council Member, The Launch Pad Teen Center
When I think of “Everybody’s Hometown,” I think of sharing a home-cooked meal.
Imagine being at the dinner table — passing down the Brussels sprouts. As you lean in for your first bite, Uncle Rob opens his mouth. You feel queasy, not because of the sprouts, but because your uncle has a way of making any conversation uncomfortable.
Whether it’s inflation or the way his eggs are cooked, his opinions always feel inflammatory. You remember the last family dinner with Uncle Rob because it left a pit in your stomach; he refused to understand why calling your crochet hobby “stupid” offended you.
You didn’t know how to de-escalate the conflict and articulate how your feelings.
If we can feel this level of powerlessness with our loved ones, how can we feel comfortable creating a dialogue to solve issues affecting our broader community?
It’s easy for conversations to be disrupted by anger and anxiety. We’re sensitive to buzzwords and easily close ourselves off when a situation becomes uncomfortable, but are we to blame? We take math, English and science classes, but we were never taught how to listen, stand up for ourselves and communicate effectively.
For this reason, the Launch Pad’s Teen Advisory Council organized the Better Together Campaign. It began as a workshop for Prescott youth to learn communication skills from a professional and give them a space to put those skills into practice — it has now grown to include all of Yavapai County.
After receiving a generous grant from the Arizona Community Foundation, we’re surveying as many people as possible to learn what they believe are the roots of division in our communities. We will task our youth with using qualitative research methods to dissect the results and curate a handbook to unpack what the surveys revealed.
These handbooks will be distributed to families to record their progress, using the methods provided to improve conversation at the dinner table and eventually with the broader community.
Our mission is to engage Yavapai County in civil discourse and encourage respect for differences. Through Better Together, we hope to uncover the issues affecting our community and offer tools to facilitate meaningful conversations communitywide.
We want your voice to be heard, so please take the survey, share
it and tell us your thoughts!