Camp Raises Strong Girls
The positive changes that take place in a girl’s life at summer camp are remarkable. The days spent at camp, away from home and family, create an independence and confidence that builds a strong foundation of “Girl Power”.
A summer camp experience bolsters confidence, social skills, responsibility, problem solving, sense of adventure and teamwork. This foundation gives girls the wisdom to make good decisions, and the strength to work through their problems. Camp creates confident girls by allowing them to try new things and face challenges in the great outdoors, while being surrounded by people who support and encourage them. Forbes magazine contributor, Samantha Ettus, author, speaker and media personality, talks about how getting girls to play outdoors gives them the comfort and skills to instill a greater sense of their bodies as a s
ource of strength and teaches them to take healthy risks. The confidence and security camp creates can lead to a happy and productive life. But as valuable as a camp experience can be, raising girl’s who feel secure and confident is a year round journey. Raising powerful girls is a process that takes time and thoughtfulness, and is one that is worth every minute. The NYU Child Study Center indicates the average American girl’s self-esteem peaks at the age of 9 and then plummets. These findings are reason enough to not only give girls an overnight camp experience, but to bring the benefits of camp home and practiced all year long. Ways to raise powerful confident girls: Be a Team Player: Research shows that girls who play on teams have higher self-esteem. Anea Bogue MA, creator of REAL girl, an empowerment program for girls says “There is a very common correlation, in my experience, between girls who play team sports and girls who suffer less with low self-esteem because they are looking to other girls for their value, and within, as opposed to looking to boys for validation”.
Compliment what she DOES: Praise girls for what they do, not what they look like. For every positive comment about looks, be sure to give two about what they are involved in. Praise efforts made as well as the outcomes.
Encourage Girls to Pursue a Passion: Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out says “having a passion let’s her go shoot baskets or play an instrument, for example, instead of being swept up in online drama”. Having a passion help girls master challenges and feel capable. Feelings of competence give a huge boost to self-esteem.
Give Girls A Chance: A chance to solve problems instead of fixing them. Letting girls work things out on their own will help them develop coping skills to handle everyday challenges. They will learn to trust themselves in new situations and will want to make decisions. When we take over, we do not allow girls to feel capable.
Keep a Strong Connection: Make time to listen and support. Girls often want someone to just listen as they share their feelings and concerns, not take over. Let them bounce ideas off of you while offering support and encouragement.
Lead by Example: Do not be too self-critical. Worries about appearance are a common way girls face low self-esteem, so be aware of what you say and do regarding your own appearance. Take on challenges and appreciate all efforts and accomplishments. Be proud of yourself…the message will go a long way to the young eyes that are watching. We can all be a part of helping girls become women with wonderful self-esteem. The greatest gift you can give girls is love, nurturing, encouragement, and of course a camp experience to build confident capable young women.