Mary Morris, a keynote speaker at a girls conference at the Craig Holiday Inn Thursday, said middle school-aged girls are like sponges -- they soak up a lot.
And there was much to soak up Thursday at an all-day career conference.
Northwest Colorado women from more than a dozen different career fields talked to local eighth-grade girls about the careers that are available to them.
Area cosmetologists, physicians, heavy-equipment operators, law enforcement officials and engineers, to name a few, discussed their careers with about 100 local youth.
"We try to expose them to as many careers and life chances as possible," said Patti Askew, a conference steering committee member.
In addition to talking to local adults about their jobs, one activity the girls did was choose a career path they might want.
They then assessed their lifestyle wants, and were able to see if that career supported their lifestyle desires.
The second annual event, sponsored by the Women's Foundation of Northwest Colorado, was organized to bring women and girls together to discuss the opportunities available to them.
"It's important to expand their horizons so they know all their options," said steering committee member Kathy Bockelman.
Eighth-grade girls are targeted for a reason, Askew said.
"The Women's Foundation has zeroed in on that year to start them thinking about their career so they can take the classes they need to in high school," she said.
She said it's important that girls get to see and learn what all is available to them.
"You're exposed to the realm of your family and friends and you're limited to that in some instances," she said.
Morris, who kicked off the day with a speech Thursday morning, said she thought the girls were responsive.
"I was impressed with some of the questions they were asking," she said. "Some them are definitely thinking about the future."
Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.