Learning from the best

Successful women offer advice to eighth-graders at forum

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— Successful women in Steamboat Springs will lend themselves as examples to eighth-grade girls from around Routt County offering inspiration and tips on women's changing roles in the 21st century.

"Shining Lights Unite for a Bright Future" is the theme for this year's "Girls to Women, Women to Girls" seminar.

Girls to Women, Women to Girls Career Day begins at about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday at the Sheraton Grand Ballroom. Under the building self-esteem category, girls can choose their top two choices of: Surviving Ninth Grade; Eating Disorders; Prom Queen; or Stories of Successful Women. However, they will get only one choice. Under the planning for financial independence category, girls can choose from: Taking Charge of Your Money; Take the Stand! Women in the Legal Profession; You and a Technology Career; Taking Care of Others: Medicine and Health Careers; The World of Athletics: How to get an Athletic Scholarship; Animal Planet: Veterinary Medicine; Agriculture: It's all around you; and Journalism. Under the enriching your life category, girls can choose from: Stressed Out; The Magic of Massage; The Pursuit of Art; Life A Moving Drama; The How To's of Music Production; and Summer of Opportunity.

At the event, girls will learn from the women in their community how to successfully build self-esteem, how to plan for financial independence and how to enrich their lives.

"Women are there to talk about nurturing, teaching and remodeling," said middle school counselor Margi Briggs-Casson.

Girls from Steamboat Springs including the public middle school, Lowell Whiteman School and Christian Heritage School Hayden and south Routt will attend the career day. Select students from those schools also participated in a conference planning committee.

"The girls voted on the types of workshops they would like to attend, and they really built the theme," said Debbie Alpe, an adult member of the planning committee. "This was a facet of getting girls involved."

Girls, dressed in business casual attire, will meet with different women in the community, some who have learned to balance a career and a family and all of whom are successful.

"The presenters are focusing on the future and building balance in life," Alpe said.

An all-inclusive lunch workshop will allow girls and women to meet guest speaker Opalanga D. Pugh, who uses the African oral tradition of storytelling to teach people.

Pugh, a Denver native, fell in love with storytelling while visiting Nigeria as an exchange student in the 1970s. She received a bachelor's degree in communication.

The Women's Foundation of Colorado first sponsored the event in Vail in 1998 for Routt County students. Students and community volunteers have since organized the event in Steamboat.

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