In an effort to cultivate fresh voices and ideas, Marana is joining the Manifesto Project, a statewide effort to involve young people in local and state government.
It all starts with a one-night event.
The project's goal is to create a network of more than 5,000 young leaders and inspire at least 100 of them to take over positions of power.
Marana is dispatching two of its younger employees, 27-year-old management assistants Vickie Hathaway and Amanda Jones, to moderate the event and interact with the audience, both in person and online.
Hathaway, Jones and other town employees are trying to round up people in their teens, 20s and 30s to gather and discuss the following open-ended topics:
• Our generation is …
• I will live forever in Arizona if …
• I will lead the change I want to see by …
People of all ages are welcome to attend, said Marana spokesman Rodney Campbell, who added that the town's state lobbying group brought the idea to Town Manager Gilbert Davidson, who decided Marana should participate.
The Manifesto Project is the brainchild of the think tank Center for the Future of Arizona, and spawned from the organization's 2012 report, "The Arizona We Want 2.0." More than 50 cities and towns in the state are staging events.
The Marana Manifesto - which starts at 6 p.m. Aug. 8 in the Marana Operations Center Community Room, 5100 W. Ina Road - will have a loose, informal tone. In contrast to many public meetings, which discourage cellphone use, the Manifesto Project encourages people to engage in discussions via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
"There has been a shift in culture, I think. The government should embrace using social media to reach out to the younger generation," Hathaway said. "We're going to put the questions out there and get very visual. Get people's attention. They want instant gratification, and we want to get people engaged."
Campbell said the town hopes to see tangible results from the meeting.
"It's good to kind of get a finger on the pulse of the community," Campbell said. "Some of this may carry over into the town's strategic plan, which we're starting the process of rewriting later this year."
Jones said she hopes the event helps young Maranans realize that they can be a part of the government.
"We want them to feel like they can be heard. If there has been a history of them feeling like they're not being heard, that will lead to people being apathetic. Doing this initiative will show people that they have the opportunity to initiate change."
If you go
• What: Marana Manifesto.
• When: 6-8 p.m. Aug. 8.
• Where: Marana Operations Center Community Room, 5100 W. Ina Road.
• Admission: Free.
• Online: facebook.com/events/222434864573875
Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or firstname.lastname@example.org