“There is a lot of pressure,” says Hayley Mackay, 12. “You have to be really skinny like the girls on TV, you have to have a lot of friends, and you have to wear a lot of make-up and a lot of trampy clothes. People make fun of you for everything in school; if you’re tall, short, skinny, fat.”
Malak Yaseen, 11, agrees.
“You have to be a bully. If someone doesn’t have a lot of friends, you have to be mean to them,” she says shyly.
“It worries a lot of kids because you want to be popular”.
From magazines telling girls what to look like, to television shows depicting what they should act like the transition from childhood into adolescence is a very difficult time for young women.
Research demonstrates that girls begin to lose their self-confidence and self-worth around the time that they enter puberty. During these years, girls are more vulnerable to negative outside influences and to mixed messages about risky behaviours.
In 2004, the Women’s Centre responded to this vulnerability by designing and implementing a gender-specific program that addresses the needs of teenage girls (10-12 years). The program promotes basic values of equality, self-determination and empowerment for all girls.
The impact on a girl is powerful. When a girl is provided a safe environment to develop critical thinking skills and increase confidence in her decision-making abilities she can thrive in relationships and develop powerful leadership skills.
This summer, thanks to generous support from BMO Financial Group, the Women’s Centre is able to again hold two of our popular Girl Power Camps. The camps will take place on the following dates:
Week 1: July 16 – July 20; Week 2: July 23 – July 27. Monday – Thursday 10am – 3pm, Friday 10am – 12:30pm.
All camps are held at the Women’s Centre (646 1st Ave NE) and are free of charge. Lunch and all other supplies will be provided, as well as bus tickets (if needed).
Girl Power Camps provide opportunities for girls to connect with each other in a community environment and learn about empowerment, gender roles, self-esteem, healthy relationships and body image. We will also be providing hands-on opportunities to learn things like art, dance, drumming and more.
Haley says what she took away most is confidence.
“What we learned this week at Girl Power Camp was that you don’t have to be like that girl on TV,” she says.
“You can just be yourself, look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘I’m perfect just how I am. Don’t try and change me.’”