By JOSH NICHOLS
Daily Press writer
More than 40 women from Routt and Moffat County braved snowy conditions Friday to gather at the Carpenter Ranch near Hayden.
Organized by the Women's Foundation of Colorado of Denver, the women gathered to discuss what will be done with a potential $10,000 grant the foundation wants to award to an organization or group in Northwest Colorado.
Audrey Danner, director of Yampa Valley Partners, was responsible for inviting the women, and a handful of men, who were in attendance on Friday.
She described the group in attendance as a cross-section of the Yampa Valley with people from business, education, politics and private and non-profit organizations.
"The goal is for these women to take a topic from today out into the community for discussion," she said.
"There are many critical issues," she said. "We want to find out how many there are and how we can tackle them."
The women at the symposium were given a brief report from three different studies based on the status of women in Colorado, the status of girls in Colorado and women in technology.
The women then broke into several small groups to discuss the data.
Each small group had a focus, including women's employment, teen pregnancy, healthy development, girls' education and technology.
In the reports given at the conclusion of the small group discussions, mentoring was a word repeatedly brought up.
Many in attendance agreed that mentoring at developmental ages was key to girls' and women's success in life. The group then tackled the project of finding out how mentoring programs in the Yampa Valley could be improved upon or created with the $10,000 grant.
Susan Skjei, an outside facilitator hired by the Women's Foundation of Colorado to conduct seminars, said the gathering at Carpenter Ranch on Friday could be called a pilot for the foundation's new statewide program.
"We're experimenting with the format," she said. "My main goal is to get people excited and get them talking."
Skjei was impressed that the foundation was willing to travel to Hayden from Denver to hold a seminar, she said.
"I'm impressed with the fact that they're looking across the state," she said. "I know that's difficult to do."
Once a decision is made on where the $10,000 should go, the group must then come up with a proposal that meets the foundation's mission and goals, said Catherine Hatfield, program director with the Women's Foundation.
"That's the beauty of having something like this," she said. "We don't know where the money is going to go."