Courtney Osterfelt

Prescott College Graduate Launches Youth Programs in Prescott

By Amy Miller • Photos by A Portrait Park by J

Stepping into the cozy brick house that is home to The Launch Pad, “A Center By Teens For Teens”, one instantly feels the energetic and fun vibe that is created by the young people who spend their time here.

Located at 302 Grove Avenue in Prescott, the center welcomes all teenagers to stop in and partake in a variety of activities including art and music programs (teens forming their own bands!), a game room, a kitchen for cooking and snacking, places to focus on homework, or just relaxing on cozy couches meeting and talking to their peers.   The Launch Pad is free to all teens ages 13-18 and there is no application process; teens simply come and sign in with their name and emergency contact information.  The center is the successful project created in 2013 by executive director and founder, 36-year old Courtney Osterfelt.  All of the experiences at The Launch Pad are designed with Courtney’s belief at its core.  “We provide a program that roots all teenagers in a positive environment that they are very much a part of.”  Forming a unique “youth-driven” experience, the board of directors consists of both teenagers and adults, working collectively to create events and oversee day to day business.  Teens are encouraged and excited to be such an integral part of the overall success of the center.  Says Courtney, “We, as the adult staff, are like scaffolding.  We are here to support the teens while they learn and practice business and leadership skills.”

Speaking to 17 year old Miranda Todd, a senior at Tri-City College Prep High School in Prescott, one gets a true sense of the youth perspective of The Launch Pad.  She has attended the center for two years and currently serves as the Teen Vice President of the board. She also recently interned at the center this summer, learning the behind-the-scenes facets of the business.  She plans to take her experiences at The Launch Pad and continue to move in the direction of helping others as she furthers her education.  Miranda states, “The Launch Pad is a place that gives you the tools to take the initiative to better yourself and others.”  She is proud to participate in such a unique program, and her goal is to continue to get the word out about the center to include more teens in this positive environment.

Drawing on struggles in her own teenage years, Courtney became sincerely passionate about helping teenagers to find a safe and supportive place to spend their time.  In this space, they can practice learning and becoming comfortable socializing with peers from other walks of life that they might not meet in other situations.  A favorite moment to Courtney is the young man who said that he came specifically to The Launch Pad, not feeling like he fit in with his peers in high school, so that he “could make his first friend.”  It is rewarding experiences such as this that truly make The Launch Pad project such a success.  Courtney’s journey to reach this point has been a challenging one.  After being assaulted in high school by a peer, Courtney didn’t feel like she had the resources or support she needed to reach out to. She felt very alone and depressed, and found herself making poor choices and in trouble at school.  Ultimately she was in such a bad place that she was no longer allowed to attend the public school system, and found herself as one of the “lost kids” that some in society see as a troublemaker with no hope.  Wanting to turn her situation around, she discovered a unique scholarship program for “last chance teens”, sponsored by the Honda Motor Company, that would allow her to attain her high school diploma.  With dedication and perseverance, Courtney earned her diploma in 2000, one year behind others her age, but somehow she was still ahead of the game.    Inspired by her mother’s consistent goal of involving Courtney and her sister in meaningful volunteer work as they grew up, Courtney was groomed at a young age to help others.  Raised in Fort Collins, Colorado, she relocated to Prescott in 2001 to attend Prescott College, graduating in 2004 with her degree in Education for Social Change.  She recalls the dean of the college, Jack Herring, as he spoke to students on that initial orientation day.  “He advised us to take our senior projects very seriously, as if our lives depended on it.”  Courtney took those words to heart and did just that, creating The Web Conference as her project in 2003.  The conference is a yearly 3-day retreat for young women to join together in nature to learn about and understand their bodies and promote a positive body image.  Leadership skills and artistic self-expression are taught through a variety of activities and specific workshops.  Courtney worked to develop the conference as an alternative space where young women can comfortably connect with others as they explore difficult subjects and common struggles, while still finding their own aspirations.      After many years of success with the conference, Courtney dreamed of developing a permanent center to further encourage helping teens.  Receiving an inheritance from her grandmother in 2012, her dream was realized and the Launch Pad was born.  In connection with The Web Conference and The Launch Pad, Courtney and a great number of dedicated volunteers, organize and lead numerous workshops throughout the summer months and into the school year.  The workshops encompass a vast array of activities from backpacking and camping to photography or glass-blowing.  As we head into a new school year, Courtney is excited to promote The Launch Pad’s weekday after-school program, Project Launch (a youth workforce development program), academic tutoring, as well as the center’s ongoing art and music programs.  She is always grateful for the sponsorship and support of our close-knit community, and strives for all of us to encourage our youth and direct them toward their individual success and achievement.  Looking forward, Courtney’s goal is to continue to bring young families to the Prescott area to partake in the teen center’s inspirational programs. The Launch Pad is looking to relocate to a larger space to bring forward more accommodations to local teens.  She stands strongly behind her purpose “to incite teen confidence and empowerment through innovative community education and engagement.”  With these programs in place, all teens have the exciting opportunity to achieve their own amazing futures!   To sponsor, volunteer or take part in The Launch Pad and related programs, visit: The Launch Pad at 302 Grove Avenue Prescott, Arizona Or contact Courtney Osterfelt at (928) 632-2996turn her situation around, she discovered a unique scholarship program for “last chance teens”, sponsored by the Honda  Motor Company, that would allow her to attain her high school diploma.  With dedication and perseverance, Courtney earned her diploma in 2000, one year behind others her age, but somehow she was still ahead of the game.

Inspired by her mother’s consistent goal of involving Courtney and her sister in meaningful volunteer work as they grew up, Courtney was groomed at a young age to help others.  Raised in Fort Collins,  Colorado, she relocated to Prescott in 2001 to attend Prescott College, graduating in 2004 with her degree in Education for Social Change.  She recalls the dean of the college, Jack Herring, as he spoke to students on that initial orientation day.  “He advised  us to take our senior projects very seriously, as if our lives depended on it.”  Courtney took those words to heart and did just that, creating The Web Conference as her project in 2003.  The conference is a yearly 3-day retreat for young women to join together  in nature to learn about and understand their bodies and promote a positive body image.  Leadership skills and artistic self-expression are taught through a variety of activities and specific workshops.  Courtney worked to develop the conference as an alternative  space where young women can comfortably connect with others as they explore difficult subjects and common struggles, while still finding their own aspirations.

After many years of success with the conference, Courtney dreamed of developing a permanent center to further encourage helping teens.  Receiving an inheritance from her grandmother in 2012, her  dream was realized and the Launch Pad was born.  In connection with The Web Conference and The Launch Pad, Courtney and a great number of dedicated volunteers, organize and lead numerous workshops throughout the summer months and into the school year.  The  workshops encompass a vast array of activities from backpacking and camping to photography or glass-blowing.  As we head into a new school year, Courtney is excited to promote The Launch Pad’s weekday after-school program, Project Launch (a youth workforce  development program), academic tutoring, as well as the center’s ongoing art and music programs.  She is always grateful for the sponsorship and support of our close-knit community, and strives for all of us to encourage our youth and direct them toward their  individual success and achievement.  Looking forward, Courtney’s goal is to continue to bring young families to the Prescott area to partake in her inspirational programs. The Launch Pad is looking to relocate to a larger space to bring forward more accommodations  to local teens.  She stands strongly behind her purpose “to incite teen confidence and empowerment through innovative community education and engagements.”  With these programs in place, all teens have the exciting opportunity to achieve their own amazing  futures!

To sponsor, volunteer or take part in The Launch Pad and related programs, visit: The Launch Pad at 302 Grove Avenue Prescott, Arizona Or contact Courtney Osterfelt at (928) 632-2996

 

Author: PrescottWomanMagazine

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