Get Involved: The Launch Pad Teen Center
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Courtney Osterfelt, and I’m the executive director of The Launch Pad Teen Center. We’re a nonprofit youth- and teen-directed center. That means that the teens, mainly 13- to 18-year-olds, who come to The Launch Pad decide what programs and events we do. The center is open 3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and teens can come in, do homework, make friends, create art, play games, or make other things happen. We also give grants to teens who want to make changes in the community.
We have things like Pin Parties. Basically, they take an art project they want to do from Pinterest, and we provide the art supplies to do it. There are usually 15 to 20 teens. We also have groups like the Q Collective, which includes LGBTQ youth and meets weekly and has social gatherings about once a month. We also have concerts. The music ranges from punk shows to heavy metal and everything in between. Usually attendance for those draws 70 to 100 teens. There’s a suggested donation of $5, and the door fee is split among the bands, so it’s also an opportunity for teen bands to get paid. We also have an internship program and a leadership program, and all of that is free. We also have two summer camps and offer full scholarships for those. One is in life skills and the other one is an adventure camp.
How can we help?
We always need volunteers, whether that’s dedicated adults or college students, who can commit one day a week to helping with academic tutoring and run drop-in hours. All it takes is a background check, a volunteer orientation, and then you come 3-6:30 p.m. one day a week. We really need someone who could do a weekly art program. We could also really use someone to help kids with writing and/or math and science. We also just need people to be silly and have fun. Playing games is big. We have a lot of board games and a Wii, and the teens use those, for sure. We always need paper towels, toilet paper, and non-perishable snacks like granola bars, chips, or trail mix. Donations for materials for anything having to do with art would be great. We go through paintbrushes quickly and we always need quality paper for painting. We’re a nonprofit, so all donations are tax deductible, too. Small or large, donations help us keep our doors open.
There’s a lot for little kids to do in Prescott and there’s a lot for adults to do in Prescott, but there’s not a lot in Prescott for youth unless you play a spot. There’s research that shows that teens that get into drugs and alcohol and illegal activities, who commit suicide, who commit crimes — typically all that happens 3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday. We try to be an alternative space for teens where you can be yourself. … Giving your time to facilitate that is huge.
The Launchpad Teen Center is open 3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, 302 Grove Ave., 928-632-2996.
Get Involved: Prescott Astronomy Club
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Jeff Stillman, and I’m the current president of the Prescott Astronomy Club. My basic function is to channel all of the requests and interests of our club members and insure we schedule all of our events and things like that. Our club is about 80 members, we’re a nonprofit, and our primary focus is public outreach to increase public interest in astronomy and the sciences, in general. We do several events each year, upward of 40 or 50. We have members who go to school to teach kids about comets. We have public star parties, which is a rather colorful term we use to talk about events where members set up their telescopes and we invite the public to look at various celestial objects, star clusters, or planets and the moon. We also do lectures at the Highlands Center for Natural History, and we host public speakers at the Prescott Public Library where scientists talk about various things like the Mars rover and work at the Lowell Observatory. The club has been around since the 1970s, so we’re 40-odd-years-old.
How can we help?
The more word that gets out, the better. People are always moving into the area who have an interest in astronomy, and science in general. We really don’t need anything else. Well, we’ve got a lofty goal, as a club, of building an observatory. We’ve been wrestling with the idea of the site, and we’re working with Embry-Riddle who already has a proposal to host a one-meter telescope, but that’s really in the early stages, as far as a partnership goes, and it’s not something we have budgeted.
Member dues are $25 for individuals and $35 for families. Members get a newsletter that includes various events and the contact info for all of the board members. We do about three member-only events each month. Next year, the big ones are a trip to the Vatican Observatory in Safford. We also have a star party at the Grand Canyon every year. The public is always invited to our general meetings as well as our Third Thursday lecture series. If you’re a member, though, you’ll get access to items we sell from time to time as well as access to club equipment. The biggest thing with becoming a member is meeting like-minded individuals. If you’re just getting into astronomy, you get get advice about purchasing and using a telescope, too. … The club has a wide range of people. Some people don’t even have telescopes, but are just interested in astronomy and want to share in what other people are doing. There’s a social aspect to all of this, as well. I’d say about a fifth of us do astral photography and about two-thirds of us have telescopes. Others just enjoy learning fro other people.
Find out more about the Prescott Astronomy Club at PrescottAstronomyClub.Org.
In these features, 5enses highlights individuals and organizations in the community that are making a difference. They were inspired by Alert Reader Aarti Pani and community leaders Sadira DeMarino and John Duncan. Thank you, Aarti, Sadira, and John.
Want to nominate a do-gooder or a doing-gooder group? Email tips to 5ensesMag@Gmail.Com with “Do Good” in the subject line. Don’t like who we feature? Do some good deeds or start your own group and tell us about it. Remember, our community is whatever we make it.