Steamboat girls’ Yampa River work to be featured in American Girl magazine
October 12, 2018
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the location of the American Girl headquarters.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When girls across the country open up the latest American Girl magazine, they’ll see a six-page spread about two Steamboat Springs girls who are helping to prevent erosion along the Yampa River.
The popular girls’ magazine held an editor-for-a-day contest, which required a pair of girls to write an essay about how their partnership made a difference or changed lives. More than 700 entries were received, and Sloane Speer and Wren Capra, now Steamboat Springs Middle School students, got the momentous call during spring break this year.
"I was standing in line for the Hogwarts Express at Harry Potter Land in Florida," 12-year-old Sloane said. "My mom checked her phone and said, 'Oh, my God. Read this email for me.' A whole, big smile lit up my face."
The girls' essay had won them an all-expense-paid trip to Madison, Wisconsin, where they would help edit the magazine and tell their story. The article will feature how the girls led their classmates in an effort to plant trees along the Yampa River near Stagecoach State Park to keep its banks from eroding.
The girls and their moms thought being featured in the magazine would be the highlight of their young lives, but the best part was the actual visit. The girls arrived in Madison this summer to red-carpet treatment.
"There was this big stretch limo, and we were like, 'You must be confused,'" Sloane said.
"Then we were in this super posh hotel, the most nicest hotel I've ever been in," 13-year-old Wren said.
The magazine's executive editor had decorated and filled their hotel room with prizes, including dolls that resembled Sloane and Wren, and books about history, friendship and crafts.
The magazine's editors made official photo badges for the girls and took them to the corporate campus, where they started their editorial duties.
Recommended Stories For You
They were greeted by flashing cameras when they pulled up in their limousine.
"I remember feeling like I'd never get used to this," Sloane said. "We even had our own big office."
As American Girl fans since they were in third grade, the two girls were amazed to see how the magazine was put together. They got to shoot photos of a puppy that will be printed in the upcoming issue, where the girls will have their names listed as editors in chief at the top of the magazine's title page.
They also helped judge an art contest and cook up recipes for the magazine.
"The humans behind this industry are authentic and incredible,” Wren’s mom, Marianne Capra, said. “These people walk their talk incredibly well. It was amazing to meet these people who genuinely care for these young girls."
Wren and Sloane said the magazine staff ate with them at the corporate cafeteria throughout the visit and the company's president even showed up.
"We weren't just at an empty hotel or restaurant alone,” Wren said. “They hung out with all of us."
Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today.