How Arowhon Supports
Girls and Young Women
Spend 5 minutes on social media looking at how teenage girls present themselves to their world. The latest style, the intentional poses, the carefully curated hair and makeup, the editing out of blemishes…. To see these images is to know the pressures on girls to package themselves as “attractive” as defined by the Beauty Industrial Complex. Both social and traditional media message girls to look and act a certain way to be accepted, and it’s only gotten worse as more of kids’ social lives move online. In this social pressure cooker, where has childhood gone? Does sex-appeal have to be the goal for young women? Not at camp! At Arowhon, we take a multi-level approach to ensuring that girls are defined and celebrated by things that are more than skin deep.
Being Kind is Cool
We respect girls' autonomy to express themselves with their outfits and prioritize comfort and safety. There is nothing you cannot wear, but if anyone, regardless of their gender, seems to be overly preoccupied with their appearance we'll have a conversation with them about their motivation and help them choose what feels right for them, not what they believe they must do to fit in. We expect clothing that is appropriate for the activity (appropriate protective gear and protection against the elements) and don't allow heated hair care appliances for fire safety. We minimize focus on appearance (except for our silly dress-up nights!) and role model positive self-talk. The result is a community that values people for who they are, not how they look.
Our culture of celebrating people for who they are, not how they look, creates a diverse definition of “cool”. Because kids choose their own activities, there’s an opportunity for everyone to shine in their areas of interest. Our campers strive to achieve awards instead of dates to dances, true friends instead of popularity, and compete against themselves instead of each other. Here are some examples of what matters to Arowhon women: being kind and inclusive, trying new things, taking on challenges, being goofy, standing up for what you believe in, helping others, and caring for our community and environment. What’s cool at camp is respecting ourselves and each other.