Attendees call Women's Day 'empowering' event

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"I am a glorious woman."

These words were the bookmarks to Women's Day, a day where women could learn and talk in a comfortable atmosphere.

Sponsored by the Yampa Valley Medical Center and Colorado Mountain College, about 60 women spent Saturday at the college, attending seminars on diverse topics.

Susan de Wardt, who opened the conference, set the tone for the day, making the women repeat those words "I am a glorious woman" several times.

"Our strength is deep down inside of us," she said. "We have to know and value ourselves if we want to reclaim our place in the world."

While some balk at the concept of women getting together exclusively de Wardt joked that centuries ago the gathering would have resulted in several being burned as witches she said that it just seemed natural.

She talked more about the general perception women have of themselves and made them write down attributes of the women they saw in the room and then attributes they have.

"If you can recognize these attributes in other people, you can probably recognize them in yourself," she said.

The purpose of the day was not to be without men; it was simply to be with women.

"They like the intimacy and they like the sharing," de Wardt said. "This day works well because it's a day for them."

For the first time in its three-year existence, there were intentionally no male presenters, de Wardt said.

"It may make a difference to someone who wants to ask a question," she said.

Participants attended three seminars of their choice. The topics included flower arranging, making scrapbooks, aromatherapy, cooking with soy, the concept of resiliency, mind-body therapies, fitness at home, parenting, finances on the Internet and skin care. The presenters were local businesswomen, teachers and women with expertise in their area.

The educational aspect of the day appealed to some women. Just being around women and hearing their perspectives is also important, according to Paula Stratman.

"It's empowering to be surrounded by women and share the same conflicts and thoughts," Stratman said. "It's nice to be surrounded by educators and mothers."

Women ages 30 to 80 were present, and for some that was a draw.

"It's a wonderful experience to be in a room with glorious women. I have great respect for the older women," Darcy Trask said. "We live in a place where there's an absence of extended family. It's nice to get that."

Some liked the affirmation of being a woman and feeling that they are not alone.

"I think there's a lot of positive energy," Pam Swanson said. "Everybody feels this way at some point or another and it's nice to talk about it."

For some women, the day was their treat away from family, children and daily responsibilities.

"I need to spend more time with women. I work and take care of my family. That's the piece I miss," Nancy Perricone said. "I did it for me."

Or, as Stratman put it: "How often do you just sit down and smell oils?"

To reach Jennifer Bartlett call 871-4204 or e-mail jbartlett@amigo.net

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