Steamboat Springs Business clothes and high heels juxtaposed with laughing teenage girls created a scene emblematic of the annual Girls to Women Conference on Tuesday at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel.
Focusing on life lessons for eighth-grade girls, the conference taught valuable, adult-oriented messages to local females young at heart and on the brink of high school.
Girls from across Routt County were treated to a day of sessions about topics ranging from finance to firefighting and body scrubs to body image, led by the New Frontiers for Girls and Women, a local nonprofit group.
Shelby Perry, from Steamboat Springs Middle School, said she learned how to break knees and scream loudly during her self-defense class.
"You just get in a stance and lift your foot up, point your toes up so your toes don't break, and push forward toward the knee," she explained. "It just breaks."
Shelby also took a course about holistic health, where she learned how to make soothing teas at home. More than 100 girls from Routt County schools, including private schools and home-schooled girls, attended the event. Gannett Hallar, director of Storm Peak Laboratory, gave the keynote address with advice for girls to create five- and 10-year plans and to pay attention to the image they are sending out.
"Are you where you want to be?" Hallar said she asked the girls. "Project the image you want others to see, with MySpace and Facebook pages and everything else."
Hallar also gave advice about how to prepare to be a scientist like her, including which classes are important and how to work toward getting into college.
Steamboat student Allison Williams said she is more interested in becoming either a TV news broadcaster or a lawyer, and in the session "If I May, Your Honor," she said she learned tips about how to pursue a career in law.
"I learned what are the requirements and how you can get into a good school to be a lawyer," she said.
She also learned, in a financial planning workshop, that working as an art teacher in New York City - with all the amenities she is used to - would be a challenge. Her workshop partner, Katherine Mannon, said the budget was getting tighter and tighter, even though the girls were theoretically sharing an apartment.
"We're trying to figure out if we're over budget," she said. "It's not looking so good."
The girls reluctantly decided they might have to give up their fictional Mercedes if they were going to meet their monthly budget.