Sedona, and many backwoods towns that remain unnamed

I was not born in Arizona, but that has had no effect on my love and devotion to this marvelous state. There are many things enticing about it, the intriguing history, breathtaking landscapes, and fascinating people – all of which are found in abundance wherever you may venture. The state has one of the most modern of all metropolitan cities, Phoenix, also the trendy hotspot for tourists in Sedona, and many backwoods towns that remain unnamed in order to keep their secrets. However, none holds the intrinsic charm of Prescott, which I have called my hometown for the past eight years.

As you are reading, try not to compare Prescott to other places you may know, because this town is truly unique. It has coined many names for itself, including, “The Mile-High City, “Arizona’s Christmas City,” “Home of the World’s Oldest Rodeo,” and “Everyone’s Hometown.”  These names cannot entirely encompass the city’s charisma, but it is a good starting place.

Prescott is nestled in a valley at an elevation of 5,300 feet, surrounded on three sides by the vast 1.2 million acre Prescott National Forest. The city has an abundance of outside recreational attractions, with five lakes where you can kayak and fish, and infinite trails to hike, bike or explore on horseback. Another favorite pastime for visitors and residents alike is to dominate the mountainous trails with off-road vehicles.

Downtown Prescott is a remarkable sight. The focal point is the Neoclassical Revival Yavapai Courthouse, which was built between 1916 and 1918. The courtyard has numerous oak trees where people are often found reading, writing, and playing with their children or pets. The brick walkways weave in and out of the courtyard, and the streets surrounding the courthouse square are filled with restaurants and boutiques.

During the month of December, downtown is transformed from its regal appearance to an extravagant display of holiday decorations. The “Courthouse Lighting” is a traditional occasion where hundreds of people gather for the spectacular event in which all the decorative lights suddenly light up the courthouse plaza. It is followed by a time of singing Christmas carols and enjoying the company of loved ones. The atmosphere is charged with good tidings and one really feels part of the community. During other times of the year, the courthouse plaza hosts other community events including art festivals, music nights, and book festivals.

Prescott is a growing community. The rumor of the unique and charming atmosphere has spread and people are flocking to the city and surrounding areas. Prescott is very appealing because it offers all the modern conveniences of the American society, including The Prescott Gateway Mall, Wal-Mart, In-N-Out, and countless other commercial retail businesses and restaurants. Despite all the growth that is in progress, this town will continue to be full of culture and it will remain humble.

Now that you are acquainted with Prescott, I would like to take you on an expedition. Knowing the history and culture is interesting, but there is no better way to come to know a place than to share in the experiences of one who has lived and breathed this city for the past eight years. If your journey is even half as colorful and adventurous as mine has been, then you will realize how delightful living in this town can be. Please share with me my experiences in this town.

Initially when I relocated here with my family, I was a fish out of water. I was used to the hustle and bustle of the big cities of Southern California; this quaint and lovely town was so different from everything I had ever known. I immediately became involved in the local 4-H club and participated in countless horse shows across the county. Horses are part of the culture in Prescott, and being emerged in that culture was my first tie to this town. The horse shows I was involved in were festive occasions, where families and friends encouraged one another. With this support, I had the opportunity to compete in the state competition, bringing home two blue ribbons and a few belt-buckles in honor of my town.

As a graduate of Prescott High School, I was involved in the performing arts program that the school offered. It was a tremendous opportunity to become part of the community with my fellow students. We had daily rehearsals for the Broadway musicals presented by Prescott High School, including Annie, Get Your Gun and Oliver. These musicals were truly a service to the community. Everyone who participated, as cast, crew or audience, where surrounded with the energy and excitement of the event.

While in high school I participated in the school science fair, and my project was soon nominated to be part of the countywide science fair. Because of my work on my project, I received recognition and awards for my project. It made me grateful to be part of the Prescott community.

During summers, I served the community through Prescott Parks and Recreation where I cared for and played with children, entertaining them and building bonds with them. It was an awesome experience, and it made me feel more as if I was a part of this community.

By being a citizen in Yavapai County, and attaining good grades, the United States Air Force presented me with a marvelous opportunity after high school; a full-ride scholarship to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) located in my very hometown, Prescott. The scholarship was intended for students in Yavapai County that showed promise. If it was not for my involvement in the community of Prescott, I would not have been eligible. Thank you Prescott!

After deciding that the ROTC program at ERAU was not for me, I began attending the local community college in Prescott. I became involved in the choral program there, and the choir toured, giving performances to schools in Yavapai County. It was a humbling experience to serve others, and it brought honor to the city.

What I have experienced in this city has blessed my life in so many ways. My first job was here, my church is here, and my family also. It has been a pleasure to engage with different aspects of the community, and this city is truly my hometown. Although I was born in California and spent part of my childhood there, my years in Prescott, Arizona have truly shaped my life. Now and for always, Prescott, Arizona is my home.