Friday, March 20, 2015

Self-Esteem Workshop for Girl Scouts

When the fourth graders in our troop met for the first meeting this year, I immediately recognized some changes in them.  They seemed to have matured over the summer, and the difference was noticeable in their interactions with each other and the troop leaders.  I have known these girls since they were five-year-old Daisies, and it has been so fun to watch them blossom into beautiful young ladies.  But I know that with these changes, a girl can encounter some confusion about who she is, who she is becoming, and how she fits in with her peers.  Because I've known these girls and their families for several years, I am aware that almost all of them have recently faced challenges with regards to their appearance.  We all know kids can be mean, and nobody is safe from ridicule.  You can be teased if you're tall or short, heavy or thin, or if you happen to wear the wrong pair of crazy socks to school one day.  The Girl Scout Mission is "Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place."  As a Girl Scout Leader and mother of two young daughters, I wanted to show these girls that they are special and loved.  I planned this Self-Esteem Workshop with the hope that the girls would embrace everything that makes them unique and that they would leave our meeting feeling confident and courageous. 

When the girls arrived at the meeting, they were given a small handful of M&Ms and this "I am Confident and Courageous!" worksheet I created based on the Self-Esteem M&M game that is posted on  

Before sharing their answers with the group, the girls recited the Girl Scout Promise and sang the Girl Scout Law song.  I took this opportunity to tell the girls a story about myself when I was their age...

When I was in fourth grade, I was one of the first girls in my class who had to wear a bra.  Boys in my class would snap my bra, and this embarrassed me and made me feel uncomfortable because they were drawing attention to something that, at that time, made me different from everyone else.  Sometimes I would wear a larger shirt or jacket to hide my chest, but my mom continually encouraged me to stand up tall and proud--to be confident in myself.  She assured me that everyone else would eventually catch up to me.  And you know what?  They did.  We were all created differently, so our bodies change at different times and at different rates.  These changes often cause confusion for many of us, and it can be difficult to navigate through these times.

At this point in the meeting, I read the book Hey! You're Great! by Cami Carlson.  In this story, a grandma tells her granddaughter about a time when she felt pressure to fit in with the other girls at school.  Growing up, the grandmother wanted to be liked by everyone else, so she followed the "cool" kids only to learn that these kids were just following somebody else. It was exhausting for her to keep up.  At the end of the story, she discovered she was truly special all along.  This is a super cute book with rhyming lines and bright illustrations.  I think our girls got the message loud and clear.

Following the story, we watched Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" video.  I asked the girls to pay attention to Taylor's main character in the video.  We talked about how she didn't change anything about herself to impress a boy.  They noticed how she stayed true to herself, and we discussed how her confidence and character is what this guy liked about her.

Since we were talking about not changing ourselves to impress another person, I  showed Colbie Callait's "Try" video.  I explained that Colbie made this video because she was tired of having her photographs altered to hide her imperfections.  As they watched the video, I asked our girls to pay attention to the ladies' body language and facial expressions.  Once the video ended, I explained that while most of the ladies in the video were shown wiping off makeup, there is absolutely nothing wrong with long as they're wearing it to feel good about themselves and not because they're trying to be someone else.  We talked about how these women looked happy and free to show their true colors by the end of the video.  

We spent the remaining hour of the meeting completing two crafts.  Several months ago, I was on Pinterest and came across this pin of the word "Be YOU tiful" painted on a canvas.  I saw another pin for these inspiration stones.  From these two ideas, our craft was born.  During Christmas, I purchased 3.25" flat, round, white plaster ornaments for $0.75 each at Hobby Lobby.  I also saw 4" plaster coasters in the mosaics and stepping stone section at Michaels that were similar and would work equally well.  We provided Sharpies and paint and asked the girls to write "Be YOU tiful" somewhere on her ornament and then cover the rest of the space with items that represent her.  Last month, I came across this sweatshirt at Old Navy and bought it for my daughters.  How appropriate! 

While bumping around the internet, I came across the book The Best Part of Me: Children Talk About their Bodies in Pictures and Words by Wendy Ewald.  During one of our meetings, I shared the book with the girls and told them to give it some thought because we would be working on a similar project.  Over the past few meetings, our girls have worked on pieces of this craft.  During this Self-Esteem Workshop, they put all of the pieces together on an 8.5x11" piece of cardstock.
  • When we had a spare moment during a meeting, I pulled each girl aside and took a picture of the part of her body she liked best.  I printed a copy of these pictures and saved them for this workshop.
  • When our Junior Girl Scouts were working on the Detective badge, we stamped their fingerprints to satisfy one of the badge requirements.  I slightly modified a quote I found online and printed it on white paper for this craft.  The quote reads, "I have a unique fingerprint that no one else has, to leave a unique imprint that no one else can leave."  We talked with the girls about the figurative and literal meaning of this quote.
  • When our Brownies were working on the Senses badge, they learned about Braille.  They made a Braille name tag using multicolored rhinestones.  We saved these name tags for this workshop as well.  I found another quote online that reads, "I create beauty with my attitude, my behavior, and my actions."  I explained that individuals with a visual impairment can not necessarily see external beauty, so they must rely on a person's attitude, behavior, and actions when making an assessment of someone's beauty.
As the girls were painting their "Be YOU tiful" ornaments, we called them over in pairs and asked them to write a positive comment for each of the other girls on the back of each piece of cardstock.  We called them back over to adhere all of the pieces to the cardstock.  Once the craft was finished, they really enjoyed reading the comments that were written just for them.  Here is one example of the finished product:

I have received some positive feedback about this workshop from several of our families.  I hope posting the details of our plans here inspires others to recreate some of these ideas for the special young people in their lives.  Thank you for reading!


  1. What an amazing workshop. I love how you tied the other badge activities together for the last project. Thank you for all of your ideas and posts you have helped me so much with troop.

  2. Hi, Shelby! Thank you for taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate the positive feedback. I'm happy to hear you've found this blog to be helpful. Enjoy the rest of the year with your girls!

  3. You rock and so does this blog. I found you when looking for bridging ideas and wow, I am blown away. You have a true talent in leadership!

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement, Jennifer. It is thrilling to hear that other leaders find this blog to be a helpful resource. Have fun with your girls!