Over the last few years, the title, Coach, has been placed behind my name in just about every program we offer to girls here at Girls in the Game. Nowadays, my work is mostly concentrated in our growing After School Program, but last week I had the opportunity to spend two wonderfully sunny and active days at our Summer Camp at Union Park. Over the last few years, I’ve also been inspired by many brilliant leaders in our organization, including our President Emerita, Amy Skeen. Amy’s love for Girls in the Game is contagious and I think I speak for many when I say it’s common to leave a meeting or conversation with her re-energized and ready to advocate for our girls.
Well, sometimes the stars align and Amy and I just happened to be guest coaching the same Health and Leadership rotation of Summer Camp last Thursday. Although the activity implemented that day was one that I’d led groups of girls through countless times in the past, I couldn’t help but feel like I was a participant experiencing it for the first time when it was being led by Coach Amy herself.
This particular day we were talking about self-esteem and body image. She held up a magazine cover of LeAnn Rimes in an itty bitty American flag bikini and asked her small group of 9-11 year old campers, “Do you know who this woman is?”
Being that LeAnn, although an accomplished country artist, isn’t currently on the radar of many youth these days- Coach Amy was faced with blank stares that were eagerly trying to figure out the mystery.
“This is LeAnn Rimes…looking at this magazine cover, do you have any idea what she is known for? What she is famous for?”
Looking at the magazine cover, the girls were only given the clues they could see: her body type, hair/eye color. Coach Amy revealed her profession and the girls shared that they had no way of knowing that based on the photo. Although LeAnn is a talented artist known for her musical skills – the magazine editors chose to display her nearly naked body.
Through this activity, Coach Amy was showing the girls (and me!) that our value has nothing to do with our outward appearances but instead, in our strength, courage and voice. That’s why at Girls in the Game, we focus on the Whole Girl. It is a beautiful thing to watch girls recognize their inner worth, it is important we plant these seeds and water them so these same girls can combat the constant struggle of having their worth being decided based solely on their looks as they grow up.
AND, in case you were wondering- the girls, Coach Amy and I had some fantastic ideas for ways to showcase LeAnn and the Whole Woman that she is; some of the top ideas were to show her singing, holding a microphone or standing on stage.
After discussing how to showcase LeAnn’s talents, the girls had the opportunity to write down all the things they love about themselves. Looking at the poster they created below, I see at least forty different ways to value them outside of their outward appearance.
Stay smart and strong.