Game teaches girls life skills

Third annual Girls to Women Conference is Friday

Moffat County eighth-grade girls will try their hand at making life a game Friday during the third annual Girls to Women Conference at the Holiday Inn.

During the lunch break at the day-long conference, girls will play the game, which is often their favorite part of the conference.

"Reality Bites" lets the girls choose their careers, and thus the wages associated with them. Then they have to deduct rent, utilities and sometimes a car payment. They can opt to be thrifty, moderate or a "big spender" when it comes to groceries and clothes.

Tara Jenrich, director of Moffat County Partners, one of the sponsors of the conference, said many youth start the game as big spenders, but stop buying their clothes at Tommy Hilfiger and head to Sears pretty quickly.

"It helps a lot of girls to understand why their parents don't always take them shopping at Tommy Hilfiger," Jenrich said.

Players get to determine what region they live in, learning how salaries and living expenses change.

"It lets the girls see house payments and rent aren't the same across the nation," Jenrich said. "It just basically lets them see what real life is about."

Just as choosing a career is critical to the outcome of the game, it will be a critical to the girls who attend the conference. So, aside from playing the popular game, professional women from throughout Moffat County will hold breakout sessions with participants to talk about why they chose their careers and the education and skills they need to do their jobs.

"We try to expose girls to different careers and give them something to think about before they go to high school," Jenrich said.

Approximately 20 presenters will be on hand, representing the legal, business, nursing, health care, cosmetology, banking, criminal justice, media, natural resources and early childhood professions, among others.

"I think it's a great opportunity and a fun day for the girls," Jenrich said. "We've never had any negative feedback."

All eighth-grade girls will be bused to the Holiday Inn Friday morning. They are asked to wear business attire.

The Girls to Women Conference is sponsored by the Women's Foundation of Colorado, Moffat County Partners, Colorado Northwestern Community College-Craig, the Moffat County Extension Office, the Craig Chamber of Commerce, the Colorado Work-force Center and the Craig Holiday Inn.

"We have a lot of players on the committee to organize the event and they deserve a lot of the credit," Jenrich said. "It takes a lot of dedication and commitment from the committee to get this organized."

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com

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