Why I’m helping girls raise their self-esteem

Kimberley Cadger, 19, a Brownie Leader, Guide Leader and Senior Section member with Girlguiding Angus, blogs about how she’s helping girls raise their self-esteem.

Sadly, the body image myth – the idea that there’s one perfect body type that everyone must live up to – is an everyday part of life for young girls today. We’re bombarded with it through social media, TV, magazines and papers. And with airbrushing technology now so ubiquitous, the untrained eye can’t always tell what’s real and what’s not. We need to give young girls the perspective and the self-confidence to know that they don’t have to conform to the idea of the ‘perfect girl’ that the media portrays.

So how is guiding helping to bust the body image myth? Through a programme called Free Being Me and a team of Peer Educators to take the message out there – there’s more than 40 of us in Scotland. Confused? I was, too – so I attended a peer education training day earlier this month to find out more.

Free Being Me is a resource by The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts that helps promote the concept of being happy and healthy in your own skin. It is delivered by Peer Educators, which is a great way for girls to learn as they get to explore and discuss issues with someone close to their own age. A Peer Educator in guiding is a young woman aged 14 – 26 who has been trained to talk to girls about issues that matter to them.

Being a young woman, I completely understand that what we see every day in the media can make girls feel bad about themselves. So when I saw the opportunity to attend the Peer Education training day, I jumped at the chance. I have already been a Peer Educator outside of guiding so I knew that it was both fun and effective.

A group of 27 members of The Senior Section attended the training day at Bonaly this month. While the term ‘training’ doesn’t sound very appealing, we all had great fun! Through sessions on science, challenges and instructing someone on how to make a jam sandwich (trust me, it’s not always as easy as it sounds!), we all had a great laugh while learning! We all loved the ‘energiser’ games that were used in between sessions as well – they it gave us new ideas to use with groups that would help to break the ice when meeting new girls from groups we haven’t visited before.

I’m really looking forward to start deliver Free Being Me to guiding groups. We need to continue spreading the word about how media-based perfection is an unachievable desire and empower girls to be free just being themselves!