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I am a senior at Prescott College in Prescott, AZ. For my senior project I want to put on a three day Young Women's Conference for highschool aged women in the tri-city area (Prescott, Prescott valley, and Chino Valley).

I became inspired to put on the conference when I came across startling new when researchin teen pregnancy. Chino Valley, a very small ranching town has one of the highest live teen pregnancy rates in the nation.....and for some reason they are using the abstinence only approach instead of sex education. When I found out this information I thought to myself, "how great would it be for college women and other women in our community to put on a conference for young women that included sex education among many other workshops....body image, leadership, women and politics, self expression, "strength in numbers", deconstructing the media..."

I have never put on a conference before. The closest to organizing a conference I have come was organizing an educational event at the college for International Women's Day last year. I have a mentor at the college, but was wondering if you had any recommendations for
resources I should check out, ideas on workshops, organizations to hit up for donations...or any advice you might find pertinent to putting on this type of workshop. Part of the struggle of this project is that Prescott is a very conservative place, and in order to market this to young women, I will also need to convince their conservative parents that this is important and of value. This has been more of a struggle than I initially imagined.

Thanks for you help,



Dear Courtney,

Thanks for your note to Feminist.com. The idea for your conference sounds great -- fun for you and a great resource for your community, but certainly a lot of work. I have often encouraged relationships between high school women and college age women -- it just makes sense, since high school students seem to look up to college students and can convey advice in a way that doesn't seem condescending, but like a friend sharing things. This is a good way to cut through otherwise difficult issues such as eating disorders, sex, relationships, drugs, etc....

In terms of your conference -- obviously you need to begin with a structure for each of the three days -- but before you can do that you have to get a sense of how many people will attend -- this will determin how many sessions you need as well as presenters, etc.... There are also logistics to consider, like what are your space constraints -- will you have one room or many? Will it all take place in the same building, etc...? Next you need to determine some sort of budget -- will you have to pay for the space, food, presenters? Do you want to charge for the conference? Will you do some sort of booklet? What are your sources for income -- the college, local businesses, who might do inkind donations or might take out ads in the program; also local parents groups. Once you have these more logistical things figured out, you can get to the point of programming -- what issues need to be addressed? And how can you break these up -- larger events and smaller sessions, interactive sessions and hands on things, like field trips.

I hope that gets you thinking.

Take care,

-- Amy


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