Grand Futures: Don’t miss this year’s Parent Connection Summit |

Grand Futures: Don’t miss this year’s Parent Connection Summit

Lance Phipps
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

For the fall and winter season of 2021, the Routt County Youth Services Coalition will host the 5th annual Parent Connection Summit, which aims to bring parents together for a free full day event to better connect parents to their children and community.

While the event changes slightly every year, it offers a keynote speaker, plus numerous breakout sessions that parents can choose from, effectively customizing the event for the needs of the parent.

For 2021, we anticipate Raise the Future to be our keynote, speaking to specific connection techniques, including Whitney Bakarich speaking on parent emotional wellness; Graham Hackett presenting on how to help families be media savvy; Carlyn Lawatsch introducing positive youth development; Sarah Coleman on parents’ physical and nutritional wellness; Michelle Petix introducing reflective listening; and new this year, we would like to introduce a youth panel.

We anticipate serving 150 to 200 Routt County families this year.

The summit is created and ran exclusively by a volunteer committee of eight to 12 members. Prior to the event, all planning, marketing and coordinating is performed by Routt County Youth Services Coalition board members and community members who are committed to educating parents and creating a better community for all youth in Routt County.

At the event, 10 to 15 volunteers ensure the event runs smoothly, manning the check-in desk, acting as room hosts and being available for participants and presenters who have questions or need attention. Outside organizations are invited to set up informational booths to connect participants with the resources they need.

Sessions offered in 2018 included “Parenting a child who has intense emotions,” along with “Unlocking your potential to thrive as a parent.” Parents of kids in all age groups could benefit from this information. There were also sessions offered that could help increase family stability, such as “Positive discipline” and “Creating powerful connections.” We also had specific sessions offered within the health, human and crisis services, such as “The effects of stress and trauma on the child’s brain,” “Caring for your child, caring for yourself when your child has a serious, chronic or acute medical condition,” and “Fact over fiction and dispelling myths of safety based on research.” Resources were also available between sessions for parents to access, including information on assistance programs offered locally.

We make a direct effort to reach outlying areas, including Hayden, North and South Routt, in addition to non-English speaking residents. At the 2018 Parent Connection Summit, there were Spanish-speaking interpreters available, and all handouts and packet information were offered in both languages.

We also offered free child care that enabled stay-at-home parents and those with young children to attend while knowing that their children were well cared for.

Anyone who desires to become a better parent or caregiver should have the opportunity to educate themselves, and we strive to make this event as accessible as possible for all Routt County residents.

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