Local teens learn life skills at independent living workshop

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Elisa Shackelton says the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension office in Moffat County has a plan that might help prevent the "boomerang" effect in young people moving away from home for the first time -- that is young people who move away after high school and end up moving back home a short time later.

The office is coordinating the "Livin' in the Real World" Teen Fest that will target area high school students with the goal of teaching them life skills necessary for independent living.

The event, scheduled for Saturday, March 8, will be held at the Centennial Mall in Craig.

"Many kids move back home because they don't know how to live on their own," Shackelton said of the reason for organizing such an event.

A few tips that will be provided at the event include how to sort laundry, change the oil in a car, balance a checkbook and select the right light bulb for a light fixture.

"We hope to have about 50 to 100 stations where teens can learn and do activities," she said.

Shackelton said the extension office also hopes the seminar can provide teens with social tips like how to handle a relationship and how to ask for someone's telephone number.

"We want to teach kids things that are necessary to know so they don't have to learn them in the 'school of hard knocks,'" Shackelton said.

There is a need to teach young people these skills because with a cutback in home economic courses in schools and parents who are busy, children are not learning those skills at home and in school as they traditionally have, Shackelton said.

"We might be able to save kids some money, hardship and embarrassment by teaching them some life skills," she said.

Door prizes will be provided at the event like coupons for free gasoline, video rentals and compact disks, Shackelton said.

The event is still in its early stages of planning, and right now the extension office is seeking volunteers in the community to run one of the 50 to 100 stations organizers hope to have set up at the event.

"We need adults in the community to help," she said. "We can't pull it off without the support of the community."

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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