Our view of diversity is all-inclusive.

While most people often associate the word ‘diversity’ with ethnicity, the conference deals with a wide range of topics including cliques, physical and mental challenges, religion, sexual orientation, art and music, gender, socioeconomic concerns, mental health and teenage social problems.

Best of all, the workshops offered at our event each year are chosen by students on the Executive Committee, so that the topics are constantly reflecting the needs, interests and challenges of today’s youth.

Workshops

Below is the list of workshops featured at the 2018 Mountain West Diversity Conference, selected by the event’s Executive Committee.

Diversity Without Borders: Crossing Political Boundaries

One student looks at another.

During this workshop we’ll discuss the reality that diversity in people and their beliefs are not a one-party issue. We’ll cover social issues, like LGBTQ rights, gun reform and immigration in today’s politics that cross political boundaries and intersect. We’ll highlight legislators on the Western Slope who sometimes vote against their party because their beliefs cross political divides. And after touching briefly on the power of stories to help us seek common ground, we’ll conduct an interactive workshop on intersectionality to help each of us gain a deeper understanding about why people who may seem so alike, can believe and act so vastly differently.

Fight for Your Rights: Examples of Youth-Led Change

How do we create change to help our communities? How can young people come together to fight for their rights?  In this workshop, we’ll look at examples of youth-led change by AJUA (Asociación de Jovenes Unidos en Acción), a youth-led immigrant rights and social justice advocacy organization in the Roaring Fork Valley.

In 2012, youth from AJUA led the effort to overturn a school district policy that allowed driver’s license checkpoints on school grounds.  These checkpoints were created with collaboration from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in an effort to find and deport undocumented students. After months of campaigns, AJUA obtained victory and was able to change the policy for the whole school district. AJUA’s hard work and dedication led to the group receiving the Youth Activist Award from the Colorado American Civil Liberties Union. Since then, AJUA has campaigned for the Colorado Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow (ASSET) bill, personal immigration campaigns, DACA rallies and other projects.

The Good, the Bad, and the Bias

Join local youth advisers in an exploration of biases, acknowledging both positive and negative aspects of our bias. Small groups will unfold everyday examples of conscious and unconscious bias and stereotypes, and strategies to address them. Participants will engage in activities to learn how to support equity, inclusion and open-mindedness.

Healthy Relationships 101

The relationships we have with others impact how we feel about ourselves. In this workshop, we will discuss the dynamics that create healthy and secure relationships with family, friends and intimate partners. Through this workshop, you will learn strategies to recognize patterns that are unhealthy and even toxic, and what to do when this happens.

Listening with the Heart: Non-Violent Communication

How often do you really feel HEARD? Learn how to listen with an open heart; and be heard in the same way. Do you find that counting to ten when you’re mad isn’t that helpful? Learn some non-violent communication techniques to get the results you desire in your relationships. Discover powerful, effective communication skills in this interactive, fun workshop (then teach them to your parents!).

Living with a Physical Disability

Sterling Winnegrad, a current Eagle Valley High School student, will give a presentation on what it’s like to live with a physical disability. Gain insight on what others around us face and open your eyes to a new perspective that allows you to understand what you can do to be more inclusive and supportive of people with disabilities. Come with questions; there will be a question and answer portion and time for discussion.

Owning Your Story: A Workshop for LGBTQ+ Students

Students stand around a table writing messages.

“When we deny the story it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave ending.”

In this workshop we will take time to celebrate our stories, who we are, where we come from and the shared experience/realities of identifying as LGBTQ+ people. Come to this workshop ready to listen, contribute and support one another. Your story matters!

Rock the Boat: Identity, Conflict, and Change

A group of students sit in a circle.

What happens when we stop trying to just be nice and not rock the boat? If we get real about our own thoughts and feelings about the “other,” can we dig deeper and challenge assumptions? Building Bridges’ youth leaders will facilitate this interactive workshop where you’ll have space to explore identity, difference, and conflict based on your own experiences and practice communication skills for change.

Self-Care Starts with You

Kimber Howe leads a group of students through a self-care workshop.

Self-care is a very active and powerful choice to engage or disengage in activities that are essential to maintain your optimal level of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

In this interactive self-care workshop you will experience relaxing yoga and meditation techniques and explore the benefits of the body, mind, and spirit connection. You will gain the ability to assess your habits in your current daily routine, create new habits and strengthen existing habits to maximize your happiness and your productivity, while minimizing anxiety and stress.

Sharing Stories of Love, Struggle and Finding Ourselves

A student speaks.

We will use creative brainstorming activities and writing exercises in order to share our stories of love, struggle, and finding ourselves. Through peer support we can grow as writers while growing as a community. All writing levels are welcome and all genres are welcome.

Sports for Everyone

Stereotypes, socioeconomics, and gender equality are all factors that affect our social lives—including sports and athletics. What does acceptance look like in today’s world? We’ll have an engaging discussion on how we all play a role in making athletics and sports inclusive for everyone.

Understanding Culture through Communication

A teen male and female sit on the floor talking.

How do we bridge cultural divides and what communication strategies help us connect and relate to those who are different from us?  In this interactive workshop, participants will explore the link between culture and communication.

You Too? Questions and Discussion about #MeToo

A group of teens discuss.

Participants will explore common questions, misunderstandings, and the on-going conversation around the #MeToo movement. What is sexual harassment? How does it show up in your lives? How did our culture get here and where do we want to go now?