What can you do to help the community in a time of crisis?
To help answer that question, Gila Community College, the Payson Police Department and the Gila County Sheriff's Office are hosting an Intergenerational Dialogue next week.
The program, which will bring together representatives from five generations, is from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 8 at the college, 202 N. Mud Springs Road.
The five generations being invited to contribute are the:
- Civic/GI generation, those born between 1901 and 1931;
- Mediating/Adaptive generation, born between 1932 and 1944;
- Baby Boomers, born between 1944 and 1963;
- Diversity/Gen X generation, 1964-1981; and
- Millennial/Nexter generation, 1982-2003.
"Ultimately, the purpose of this Intergenerational Dialogue is to provide a greater understanding between generations and recognition of what each generation can contribute to the goal of community health and safety in times of demand," said Sarah Nelson, director of community programs at GCC.
"There is always a contribution to be made," she said.
Using the five generations creates the broadest range of resources for developing the best response to a crisis, according to information published by Point of View, Inc., which publishes guidelines for Intergenerational Dialogue. Each generation brings specific gifts and talents to the table.
For instance, young people know the streets better than most older people. Older generations understand the importance of phone trees and crime watch. Including all generations adds value to preparedness planning.
When the program is completed, the goal is to have community-based recommendations for future action -- What is the best way for the citizens of Payson to respond and contribute when faced with a crisis related to Homeland Security or such things as a fire, a hazardous waste spill, being stranded by flooding or a winter storm?
The Intergenerational Dialogue approach is based on two simple, but very powerful, concepts, according to information from POV, Inc.:
1. Each generation has a unique and valuable perspective that must be included in discussing any issue or opportunity.
2. All generations need to be involved in solving community problems or creating community opportunities.
Helping participants through the process will be Sgt. Mark Yoshimura of the Phoenix Police Department and Ina Wintrich, assistant director of Arizona State University's Advanced Public Executive Program and project director for the Arizona Regional Community Policing Leadership Development Program.
Yoshimura has been working with Intergenerational Dialogues since its inception. He conducts Town Halls and anti-terrorism training for the Arizona Regional Community Policing Institute, which is making the program possible in partnership with ASU.
Wintrich administers the AZRCPI grant, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and its Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. She is an instructor for the leadership development program and has a background in gerontology.
Yoshimura said this is the first Intergenerational Dialogue sponsored through COPS and the first to use the theme of Homeland Security.
"We're gathering representatives from the five generations to they can give their perspective on what they can do to enhance homeland security and community safety," Yoshimura said.
"We want them to consider their role in the community and what they can do."
The program provides a forum to share viewpoints and life experiences, and discuss the reasons for those points of view.
He said the members of the oldest generation, those born between 1901 and 1931, might be able to use their talents to educate the public, while those in the youngest group, born between 1982 and 2003, have the physical stamina to do things like passing out fliers door-to-door.
"I participated in one of these programs in St. Paul, Minn., and saw the oldest and youngest generations discover a new respect grow out of that. Today, the generations are isolated and don't have a lot of interaction with one another. This is a forum for positive communication and a process of discovery," he said.
For more information about the Sept. 8 program, contact Sarah Nelson at (928) 468-8039.
Additional background material on the Intergenerational Dialogue process is available on the following websites: