Our photo exhibition to promote body confidence

Leader Laurie's Guides were empowered to take action after completing their Free Being Me badge, so they put on a photography exhibition

We have seen the difference in the girls' confidence since doing the badge and exhibition. Many of the girls are trying new things, and two Guides decided they wanted to start their Baden-Powell award.

'There is too much pressure on girls to look a certain way in today's society – our message is that everyone is beautiful in their own way. Doing our Free Being Me badge has helped us to expose the beauty myth for what it is and learn that there's far more to life than conforming.'

This is the caption from my Guides' photography exhibition, which they put on as part of their Free Being Me Take Action project.

As a Leader, I was really excited to do the Free Being Me badge with my Guides, because when we asked them 'What do you think is the biggest issue facing girls your age in our community today?' their answer was body confidence. They talked about media pressures, being bullied because of what you look like and girls not having the confidence to join in with sports. After an hour of chatting they didn't want to leave the meeting, so we told them about Free Being Me and they jumped at the chance to do the badge.

Completing Free Being Me

The Free Being Me pack is easy to use and has a helpful chart of 'things you will need' for each session, which made the preparation work a lot less time consuming.

One of the additional activities we did was give each Guide a glass jar, so that other girls could put encouraging notes inside at any time during the meetings. At the end of Free Being Me they opened the jars, read the notes and took them home.

We also put quotes and pictures that inspired us on our noticeboard and started each session by sharing these.

Taking Action – the photography exhibition

The final part of the Free Being Me badge is to do a project where the girls can share what they've learned with their community.

When they had almost finished the badge, a photographer did a workshop with them. Each girl designed their own portrait to show both how they were part of Girlguiding and how they were each free to be unique individuals.

They also had lots of questions for the photographer about photoshop and airbrushing! We were blown away by their creativity and had a lot of fun shooting the portraits in our local college's photography studio. 

They ended the project by putting together an exhibition about Free Being Me. They also raised £130 for a charity that supports teenagers battling eating disorders by giving out home baking at the exhibition. You can read more about our project on my own blog The Girlguiding Life.

Why do Free Being Me?

We have seen the difference in the girls' confidence since doing the badge and exhibition, and had so much positive feedback from parents about what their daughters did.

Many of the girls are trying new things, and two of our Guides decided on the day of the exhibition that they wanted to start their Baden-Powell Challenge Award. It was a bonding experience for our unit as the girls worked together. Also, us Leaders got to know their families - the day of the exhibition was the first time that we had spoken to some of the parents in person.

Talk about body confidence with your unit

Challenge the beauty myth by running Free Being Me. Do all three sessions or just one hour of body confidence activities - it's enough to make a difference to girls’ lives.