“You don’t try hard enough.”
“You don’t fit in.”
These are messages that girls hear not only from society, but often from each other and themselves as well. I volunteer with a Guide and Pathfinder unit and when I saw the new Be You challenge, I knew that it was exactly what our tweens needed.
When we were out in the community a few weeks ago, we thought it was the perfect time to do one of the Be You activities and a service project that would hopefully have an impact on the girls, too.
We started by trying to define a “perfect girl.” One of my co-Guiders, Lindsay, and I each took a piece of paper and prepared to write down their suggestions. Unbeknownst to the girls, we’d agreed that Lindsay would write down anything superficial and I would keep track of the elements that had more to do with a girl’s personality. I’m proud to say that they saw through our ruse and Lindsay’s paper stayed blank for the first 10 minutes or so of the discussion.
At that point, we refocused and emphasized that we were also looking for what they felt society says the perfect girl should be. They had no trouble filling up Lindsay’s page then. There’s no doubt that they’re flooded with conflicting messages.
The goal of the service project that we then completed was to make people in the community smile and to remind them that the voices around them and in their heads aren’t always true — they are good enough!
We handed out pieces of paper that had some basic information about Girl Guides and the Be You challenge as well as tear-off strips at the bottom. The girls wrote happy thoughts and sayings on the strips that people could read and take with them to brighten their days.
Some of their favourites were:
- Love yourself as much as you love Girl Guide cookies!
- Work hard. Be kind. That is all.
- Be somebody who makes everyone feel like a somebody.
- Do something wonderful. People may imitate it.
- You can’t make everybody happy. You’re not a jar of Nutella.
We stuck the papers up inside bathroom stalls in a university building and have already heard stories of people finding and loving them! It was the perfect mix of program, Guiding PR and service!
Lizzie is a Guider with the 1st Milton Park Guiding Unit in Montreal. She has also been a Guider in Guelph and Sudbury, Ontario and is currently the Communications and PR Coordinator for Guides Québec. Some of her previous blog posts include Guiding the Way to STEM, The Hair Petition, The More We Get Together and What Jeans Are Good For.