Sexual Health Centre for Cumberland County aims to build confidence in participants
AMHERST - Girls ages nine to 13 might end the summer with more self-confidence, respect and self-esteem after participating in the Go Girl Self Esteem camps.
This year, co-ordinator Sarah Sears and counsellors Kelli Burbine and Rebecca Shatford will lead the Sexual Health Centre for Cumberland County programs through fun activities and games, all the while building confidence within the participants.
"I'm hoping that by the end of the program, more of these girls will believe in themselves and believe that being a girl is a positive thing," said Shatford.
"Hopefully they'll look at themselves in a positive way."
For Burbine, she wants girls to know that what they're experiencing or going through isn't something new.
"I hope to help the girls become more comfortable with who they are, because I know what they're going through. At the age they're at, it can be tough if you're not comfortable or happy with who you are," said Burbine.
In her second year as camp co-ordinator, Sears says the participants teach her and the other girls a lot each year.
"They put a positive thing on everything," she said with a laugh.
"Something that you may find stressful, they find so much joy in it."
Throughout the summer, Sears, Shatford and Burbine will be travelling to locations in the county to deliver the programs, which focuses on four aspects: self-esteem, body image, decision-making skills and helping others.
Because the program has been offered in the past, the trio will have new activities and a new outlook on the program in case any of the participants from previous years are returning.
"The new leaders have different spins on the activities and discussions, so it should seem like a new program," said Sears.
Before going into the program, Sears, Shatford and Burbine do some background reading to prepare themselves for things that might have changed or have been updated, such as the age of consent, body images and how the media portrays body images, and eating disorders.
"For girls between the ages of nine and 13, it can be a very confusing time and if I can give them answers to just one of their questions and help give them confidence, then that's what will be rewarding for me," said Shatford.
"We just try to be great role models for them, because some of them come into the program not having any role models," added Sears.
Of the programs being offered, some still have space available.
Those include July 20-21 in River Hebert, July 22-23 in Pugwash, July 27-30 in Amherst, Aug. 3-6 in Oxford, and possibly Aug. 10-13 in Springhill.
For more information, call the Sexual Health Centre for Cumberland County at 667-7500.