Even in 2021, noise and pressure to conform to traditional stereotypes and unrealistic body size expectations is LOUD. It’s no wonder young girls develop anxiety and body image issues. Social media often doesn’t help.
Changemaker Kim McMullen, like so many others, battled such demons from a young age.
And, once she conquered them, she set her sights on helping other girls do the same.
She founded Girl in the Wild, a 7 day confidence building camp for teen girls in the Canadian Pacific Northwest.
“I want to see girls stop beating themselves up and preventing themselves from enjoying life just because they might be different and not fit societal norms.
We create an opportunity for girls to connect with their peers and inner selves. To achieve a sense of self love and self worth, and ally-ships with their peers, by eradicating competition / comparison / social expectations.”
Tall order? Absolutely. And it’s free!
McMullen herself didn’t swim from the age of 11 to 30 because “I didn’t like myself in a bathing suit. I felt that society said I didn’t belong”
After her mom took her to weight watchers when she was 11, it was a rapid downhill spiral.
“I thought there was something wrong with me. And I’d had no idea that there was anything wrong.”
She defends her mom’s intentions, “She was trying to fix what ailed her through me - she didn’t want me to suffer as a ‘chubby’ kid being called fat.”
Intentions notwithstanding, the experience catalyzed years of feeling badly, hiding under baggy clothes, pinching her gut, measuring her waist, and marking the calendar with smiley or frowny faces depending on the result.
Years of toxic thoughts and self-loathing took their toll. One day, she’d had enough.
At age 23, she walked out of a toxic relationship and into the Yukon Mountains.
“No more excuses. No more not showing up, no more negative self talk. I had no limits in the wild - it didn’t matter how I looked. I built confidence and persevered.
I was so naive to think this journey was my own. I realized it’s every woman’s story to a certain extent - putting ourselves down, struggling.”
She kept track of her journey on Instagram, and people started reaching out.
“I knew that I need this not to be the story of girls any more.”
The applications entail an intensely personal essay and video, and spots fill up fast. And doing it all for free requires funding, hence teaming up with ET as a Changemaker.
“If I can get this next generation of girls out into the wild, where they’re encouraged to be curious and supportive with one another, maybe we can reverse this trajectory”
If you'd like to help support Kim in her efforts, just enter "Kim" in the discount code box at checkout and we will donate 5% of your purchase price to Girl in the Wild on your behalf.
Photos courtesy of Bobbi Barbarich
Learn more about our Changemakers program here.
This is in addition to the 1% of total sales Endurance Tap is committed to donating to 1% for the Planet.