Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs is like its own little bubble, seemingly detached from the rest of the world. That raises the question: Does Steamboat's isolation affect views on social issues?
Marilyn Harris, 14, thinks it does. "I think a lot of people are close-minded. It's not their fault, but they've just never been exposed" to diversity.
The Teen Style staff is of the opinion that culture and diversity are a necessity that Steamboat severely lacks.
"I think that diversity is a need for human life - you need to understand people," said Haley O'Brien, 15.
Paula Ninger, 15, agreed.
"You need to understand other people's viewpoints and put yourself in their shoes before you judge them," she said.
The discussion turned to issues in our own community, such as race, religious views and sexual preferences.
"It really bugs me that the Latino population isn't really integrated; they're just their own group," Harris said.
Everyone agreed that the problem could be reversed by talking and interacting.
When it came to religion, the Teen Style staffers were split on acceptance of beliefs. Most felt their beliefs are being overly challenged at school.
"I think that people can be a little standoffish to religion here," O'Brien said.
O'Brien said students in some of her classes are intolerant of her Christian views.
Harris agreed, but added that Steamboat Springs "still feels like a very white, Christian community."
The staffers think listening to everyone's point of view on religion and other touchy topics, instead of just blindly arguing, would allow everyone to get along better.
Sexual preferences and gay rights are rarely thought about in Steamboat - the school's Gay Straight Alliance has only four members.
"What would you do if you saw a totally gay guy? : So many people here would be aware of the difference and make fun of it," O'Brien said. Because we do not have exposure to differences such as this, O'Brien added, we will most likely have a disadvantage when we go off to college.
"People are so intolerant about things that they aren't even aware of," Ninger said.
Molly Parsons, 15, suggested class time as part of the problem.
"Teachers are so afraid to let us discuss iffy topics," she said. "They try to suppress our opinions."
When asked whether Steamboat's isolation affects views on social issues, the Teen Style staff has a unanimous opinion: Yes.
But by discussing these issues, there is a possibility that we can broaden our horizons and rid ourselves of the small-town isolation handicap.