In the days of social media and instantaneous access to news and current events, young girls are bombarded by body image expectations earlier than ever before.
An Exeter mum has taken a pro-active approach to ensuring her girls, and others throughout the Highlands, can build positive mental attitudes about physical activity.
Joelle Breault-Hood is the first person to bring Sole Girls, a Canadian physical activity initiative for young girls, to Australia.
We use physical exercise as a tool to develop positive attitudes - it's about what their bodies can do and achieve, rather than what they look like.Joelle Breault-Hood, Sole Girls facilitator
After meeting with Sole Girls CEO Ashley Wiles, Ms Breault-Hood became a licensed provider of the program in Australia.
“The Southern Highlands is a first step, and I have high ambitions to grow it throughout NSW,” she said.
Ms Breault-Hood said there were several reasons behind her motivation to instil self-empowerment in young girls.
“I’m in this as a mum, a student working towards my PhD in adolescent body image, and a worker in the field of outdoor education,” she said.
The sessions have a 90-minute structure and are all about fun, working toward a five-kilometre fun run at the end of the program.
“I don’t want the girls to think of it like a running program, it’s a tool they can use to learn their physical capabilities,” Ms Breault-Hood said.
“It’s not about finding a fast kilometre, but finding a happy pace – and that’s a metaphor for living life in general, we’ll be learning to let our inner awesomeness shine.”
The program has been created with a focus on fun and positivity. “What I like about it is that it’s fun – the activities are great, the fonts, colours and programs are fun and it’s really engaging.”
And it’s not all about running. Sessions include interpersonal skill-building activities such as mini-interviews with peers, three-legged games and collages with magazines.