A behind the scenes look at SAAM 2013

Image of drawn curtainLet me paint a picture for you. You are sitting between family and friends, center of the aisle, that preferable distance from the stage. You are back far enough to take everything in but still see the closer details of the show. The curtain’s drawn, but the scene is set. It’s only a matter of time before something happens.

Maybe it’s your favorite band, that show you got tickets for months in advance, or even a local production starring someone you adore – no matter the occasion, you are about to witness a team’s greatest effort at turning planning and practice, scattered energy and efforts, into an experience that touches audiences in some way. Whether the goal is to tickle your funny bone or inspire you to take action – folks behind the curtain are putting it all out there with intentions and hopes for the production and those who witness it.

To offer an aside, my role in helping to plan SAAM feels a lot like this. In my brain, I picture a director’s chair and maybe even one of those clapper boards, but in reality this looks more like crossed-fingers and heavy use of the mantra “the show must go on.”

For many of us who plan events or work on prevention messaging, this experience isn’t unfamiliar: it’s showtime. In SAAM land, “showtime” is t-minus 8 months away, and we are behind-the-scenes navigating a dance of ideas, plans, and reality. There are meetings, discussions and an obscene amount of e-mails. In the heat of planning the temptation is to rush, check-off and check-out, but it’s a time where intention matters triple-fold. Are we hearing enough perspectives and learning from feedback? What’s our big-picture goal for SAAM 2013? All of this intention truly sets the stage.

Yes, this post is to affirm that SAAM and other campaign efforts don’t come together at midnight the eve before the show. At the same time, the sign of great team-work and effective-planning is when the curtain opens and the show moves forward without the audience getting a glimpse at those behind-the-scenes tensions.

What’s great about a project like SAAM is that we are able to draw on the knowledge of our movement in planning, and the activism of many is in chorus with this effort. Truly, the way we understand prevention work and the message of SAAM is that sexual violence prevention is on-going. We’ve already hinted that we are fans of endless April, and it goes without saying that a month would do no justice to highlight the many dynamic prevention programs across the country.

Still, you, dear readers, are kind enough to join us here behind-the-scenes for planning, a few casting calls, and a dress rehearsal or two. In this space, I hope you feel as though you can contribute to the collective production of SAAM, and I hope that this view can offer an insight or two that may be valuable for your own planning and programming efforts.

This post also intends to “set the stage” for an upcoming glimpse at our planning progress for SAAM 2013. For instance, you may be interested in knowing that a SAAM 2013 theme has emerged, and a slogan and visual developments are on the verge. But before SAAM 2013 takes the spotlight, I thought we’d offer a peek through the stage curtains and celebrate the unfinished set. How’s that for a cliffhanger? 

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