Becoming naturally poised |

Becoming naturally poised

LESLIE BREFELDsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk

A formal dinner or evening shouldn’t be something to fear – or regret after – due to a lack of manners. Naturally Poised owner Tara Skubella, who offers private and group lessons in etiquette, said her instruction is mainly about building confidence in social situations.Skubella attended charm school when she was 15, and resisted the whole way. “My mother made me go because I was such a tomboy,” she said. As she grew up, however, she began to see how the lessons she learned there were positively influencing her life.

At a formal business dinner she attended in college with her father, she knew to talk to the people on both sides of her at the table and was able to carry the conversation. She knew to stick with appropriate topics like the weather, music or current events and what to avoid: Money, age or even family, which can be too personal for acquaintances.Along with table settings and conversations, Skubella teaches handshakes and introductions, poise and posture and self-grooming to young students.”They used to teach this through family and school,” Skubella said. “But with lifestyle changes and technology, it’s become lost.” She said today’s busier, on-the-go lifestyle and both parents working contribute to the decline of etiquette knowledge.

Skubella, who lives south of Fairplay, has a teaching degree in science and manages a ranger station with the South Park Ranger District when the season is open. Skubella was licensed through her own charm school teacher, Robin Thompson, through Etiquette Network Incorporated and will offer a class in Breckenridge beginning March 22 for girls ages 9 to 16.Her class will consist of four sessions: Self-image, social success, party protocol and dining do’s and don’ts. She said one of her activities will be to look at images of females portrayed in the media and how it affects young women. She will also incorporate National Women’s History Month by featuring historical women who have made an impact. “Women: Builders of Communities and Dreams” is the theme of this year’s campaign, and Skubella wants to show her students how these women’s confidence and motivation helped them to achieve their goals.

Skubella’s career of helping people gain confidence got its start working with wilderness therapy groups like the Colorado-based organization Alternative Youth Adventures, which gives at-risk kids confidence in wilderness situations which they can take with them through their lives.”Learning manners should be fun with a real person behind it,” Skubella said.Contact Tara L. Skubella at (719) 836-3512 or to sign up for the Breckenridge class.

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