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Military Community Recreation hosts program to empower girls

This week the world marked the 5th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl, an initiative of the United Nations to address the needs and challenges of girls while promoting their empowerment.

Believing in these same principles, of empowering girls, the Personnel Support Programs (PSP) of Petawawa is hosting its Dove Self-Esteem Project this October for the second year in a row.

The program was launched last year by PSP to give girls an outlet to express themselves and focus on their self-esteem.

“It’s really just to help girls build their self-esteem, built their confidence,” said Brittney Robins, Community Recreation Coordinator 4 CDSB Garrison Petawawa.

Girls attending the program not only discuss self-esteem but also their feelings, body image and how to break out of their comfort zone. It also gives girls the tools to curb society’s influence on how they should act and look, like explaining how Photoshop is used on models while creating powerful connections with their peers.

“I think all girls and women can relate to having self-esteem issues, sometimes not feeling like you’re good enough, not wanting to engage in sports because ‘you are going to look like you throw like a girl or kick like a girl.’

“And I thought if we can create a program where we bring the girls together, they can talk about their issues together, they can talk to us about them, we can bring in local champions who have started their own business, and we have volunteers who were women in the military and retired teachers, and bring them all these different perspectives and show them that they can do anything and be anything,” explained Robbins.

To launch the program, PSP created a Dove-style video with women and girls from the local community sharing their personal relationship with body-image and self-esteem.

The video was an instant success and received more than 2,000 views.

“It kind of blew up overnight and that was really amazing to see. It was awesome to have those individuals who were in the video to all of a sudden be recognized in the local community and feel they were part of something,” commented Robins.

It also ran in the local movie theatre, on the Cogeco local channel and was posted on all social media accounts.

Thanks to the video, PSP instantly had close to 20 girls sign up for the program, which ran for the first time last fall.

The program is broken down into three sessions: fall, winter, and spring. Each session lasts six weeks and covers a mix of material provided by the Dove campaign and practical activities to put those lessons to the test.

“We really look at the core topics that we want to focus on but then that second hour is really putting it into action and I think that really solidifies that for them,” said Robins.

Some of the activities the girls’ experience are pilates, belly dancing, and mindfulness.

To launch their upcoming sessions, PSP Petawawa once again released a video. This time the video contained clips from girls attesting to how much of a difference the program had made to them.

The next Dove Self-Esteem Project session begins Oct. 22.

Registration is still open for the PSP Petawawa Dove Self-Esteem Project. For more information or to register click here.

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