by Lia Killeen, TAC Member, The Launch Pad Teen Center
To foster greater social well-being within Yavapai County, members of the Teen Advisory council (TAC) at The Launch Pad Teen Center organized the Better Together campaign to unite people.
Inspired by the polarizing protests that rocked the Prescott community in 2019, Better Together is a mission to make productive and meaningful discussion part of Prescott culture.
TAC youth leaders began the venture toward community social wellness by surveying a representative population of Yavapai County on the topic of division. The teens found that a vast majority of residents believe that crippling disunity exists in the Prescott community and that many citizens wish to change this reality.
After analyzing nearly 1,000 surveys, TAC identified specific topics that had explicitly separated individuals in Yavapai County and encouraged displays of animosity. The teens then composed a written toolbox of communication techniques to be used when navigating difficult conversations brought up in the context of these topics.
Written and edited by teens, the Better Together Guidebook is packed with charts, infographics, and honest observations that detail the goal of Better Together and the data from the initial survey, along with tips and findings on the art of productive conversation.
Currently, TAC is working on the intermediate step of Better Together, which involves commissioning 200 local groups, such as families, friends, clubs, churches and more to use the guidebook in facilitating independent dinner discussions.
Groups who sign up will be connected with a TAC liaison, who will check in and listen to feedback as the dinner conversations progress. TAC intends that this opportunity be available to all who are interested, whether individuals looking to connect to a larger group, those in need of a meal, or those pressed for time.
Various needs are taken into account when filling out the dinner application. Groups commit to one dinner per quarter for a year, which serves as practice to be followed by gradual progression into communitywide meals.
Social wellness is not always easy, and the discussions initiated by the Better Together Guidebook are meant to be uncomfortable. But the hope is that, together, the Prescott community and surrounding areas can persevere through the uncertainty of genuine interaction and emerge with a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.
Link to dinner sign up: form.jotform.com/223466545830055.