Parent Connection Summit will focus on ‘navigating hard conversations’ and other difficult topics for families |

Parent Connection Summit will focus on ‘navigating hard conversations’ and other difficult topics for families

Next week’s Parent Connection Summit will offer a chance for parents and anyone who works with youth to learn about some of the most pressing topics facing young people today. 

The Parent Connection Summit will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, in the Colorado Mountain College Albright Auditorium, 1275 Crawford Ave., in Steamboat Springs. 

The event is free and open to any parent, caregiver or professional who works with youth and families. Routt County Youth Services Coalition organizes the event annually, and this year’s theme is “Navigating Hard Conversations.” 

Erin Miller, program manager for Partners with Youth, said the purpose of the event is to bring parents, guardians, caregivers and more together, so they can all learn and build tools.

“It can be navigating hard conversations with yourself, with your teen or with anyone else in your family,” Miller said. 

The summit will feature a keynote speaker and eight breakout sessions addressing topics on how to build strong relationships with youth from birth through young adulthood. This year event organizers were intentional about selecting local speakers and facilitators to tap into the wealth of knowledge in youth services, Miller said. 

Graham Hackett, the social change program director from Advocates of Routt County, will deliver the summit’s keynote speech about being media savvy with youth. The presentation will focus on the internet and social media, and how it impacts youth development. 

“Our youth today are the first generation who have learned everything online,” Miller said. “And this is a chance to learn about how to navigate the huge topic that every parent or guardian is dealing with.” 

Participants are invited to attend for the whole day or any portion of the summit. Breakout sessions include topics on parenting together for parents who are separated, building strong connections with toddlers and preschoolers, combating parental self-doubt, and how to talk to youth about consent and boundaries. 

There will also be breakout sessions on supporting youth with ADHD, navigating conversations with youth about suicide, and how to advocate for LGBTQ+ youth. Speakers and facilitators for the day include professional psychotherapists, therapists, counselors, educators, advocates and leaders of local nonprofits. 

Miller said that for parents, attending any part of the day that interests them will be worth their time. 

“Everyone’s time is valuable, but your time as parents is even more valuable,” Miller said. “And we would love to be able to support parents and guardians.” 

Having the tools to have these difficult conversations with family members may also have a positive ripple effect into other areas of parents’ lives, Miller said. 

“From my perspective, my hope is that if parents are supported in any area of their life, it will also support their work,” Miller said. “If they are able to get the tools they need to navigate family life at home, that will benefit their work life. If we’ve learned anything from COVID, it’s that no one lives a completely compartmentalized life, our home life bleeds into our work life.” 

There is no charge for the event, and there will be lunch and free child care provided. Miller said that pre-registering for the event will help organizers plan for enough space for all of the activities. 

Integrated Community will provide interpreters, and guests that need those services can indicate in the registration. 

For more information or to register, go to Registration will remain open until the day of the event.

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