“I have gotten more calls this past week about what 'It’s Worth It' means than I did last year when we didn’t have power,” said First Selectman Joseph Mazza. “So please tell us, please!”
Mazza’s pleas were answered on Sunday just prior to the start of Guilford’s Got Talent on the Guilford Green. To a packed Green full of parents, friends, neighbors and acquaintances eager to watch the Guilford’s Got Talent show, the teaser campaign was unveiled.
“I guess you’re wondering what the 'It’s Worth It' signs are about on our t-shirts and banners around town,” said Peter Palumbo, Developmental Assets for Youth (D.A.Y.) co-chair.
“D.A.Y. has been working hard to build a healthier environment for Guilford Youth, the 'It’s Worth It' campaign is a D.A.Y. initiative,” continued Palumbo. “D.A.Y. wants the community to know that 'It’s Worth It' to demonstrate that community values its youth, to reinforce the importance of family values, to encourage adult role models and to applaud positive peer influence. By doing so Guilford D.A.Y. and its supporters will help Guilford youth make positive choices and ultimately reducing drugs and alcohol. “It’s Worth It!”
According to the Town of Guilford website D.A.Y. “assesses and evaluates the community's need for program development, implementation and accessibility of resources in response to issues surrounding prevention and intervention of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, as well as other issues impacting children and families in the community.”
“The campaign that they put out there, the teaser campaign, it generated so much interest that I think people are going to pay attention to the message,” said Mazza, following the announcement. “I’m very happy about that.”
The discussions were not limited to the coffee shops and streets, but were popping up on the Internet. There were lots of guesses as to what the slogan “It’s Worth It” meant. These included discouraging texting and driving, supporting The Guilford Fair, drug and alcohol awareness programs and promoting political ideals.
The small group that actually knew what was behind the campaign was having their own fun, comparing notes of what people were thinking about the slogan.
“It’s been a lot fun,” said Palumbo. “The group of us has called each other many times. ‘Did you hear what this one wrote on Facebook or did you hear what this one said?’ It’s been a blast. It’s been a lot of fun.”
What was known was that it was a homegrown campaign, specific to Guilford. “We’re trying to create that curiosity, so that over the next couple of weeks people will be asking that question, ‘What’s Worth It? What is it?’ according to a local spokesperson, when queried about the signs all over town.
“We really want people to people to keep their attention on it, to really want to know what the next step is.”
They seemed to have met that goal, according to organizers. Immediately following the announcement D.A.Y. Co-Chair Lisa Ott seems almost relieved that “the secret” was out.
“It’s so exciting,” said Ott. “My son, Peter, is a 16-year-old at the high school and he said that it has been all over Facebook and kids have been tweeting, so it’s not just the grownups who are wondering.
“It’s so nice to actually hear the words and not to be stumbling over how to explain it.“
The next step is a World Café, a forum in October, where local adults can gather together “to talk about the issues that are going on in town for youth.”
There are also plans to work directly with Guilford coaches through the Positive Coaching Alliance, which is fast becoming a national movement. The aim, according to Ott, is “for coaches to be able to take advantage of the learning moments and really become a foundation for the athletes in ways other than athletic.
“There are wonderful chances for lessons that kids can learn in athletics,” Ott added. “They learn so much that has nothing to do with how to get a homerun.”
Everyone involved with the “It’s Worth It” teaser campaign agreed that it was fun, but beyond that they all agreed that what it stood for is extremely important and vital to Guilford youth.
“I think that people shouldn’t stop at their own children … I believe everybody has a stake in this,” said Palumbo. “This is our future, not just in Guilford, but everywhere. Our children need some more direction than what they’re getting.”