In an effort to promote body confidence and address any concerns students had about wearing a bathing suit around peers, members from Body Confidence club met with every freshman physical education class last week before their swim unit.
“A lot of students don’t want to do it because they’re worried about being vulnerable, but it should just be about friends getting together and having fun in the water,” said junior Renee Miller, an assistant officer of Body Confidence club. “We know what it feels like to go through this, and it sucks at first, but once the first class happens it is fun and a nice break in the day.”
She added that the idea to talk to freshman classes about body confidence was based on their own personal experiences in freshman year. Initially, the club had thought about making posters for teachers to use, but they eventually decided it would be more effective to go and talk to classes themselves.
“It’s always better hearing things from kids your age, so we wanted to help the freshmen feel better in their bodies rather than feeling intimidated or self-conscious,” Miller said. “We thought this would help the freshmen feel more positive and optimistic about the unit and not be scared.”
At a meeting with physical education teacher Michael Bower’s F-block freshman class, Miller and club member junior Leah Lakomski discussed fears students had about being in a bathing suit around peers and shared personal anecdotes and experiences.
“I was from a different school, and I didn’t know anyone freshman year,” Lakomski said to the freshmen. “I was nervous at first about being in a bathing suit in front of everyone else, but it wasn’t that bad. You just have to go out there and have fun.”
Lakomski further encouraged students to give it a shot and try it out, even if only for a class. “The worst thing that can happen is you go in and you don’t like it. In that case, I’m sure if you talked to Mr. Bower he wouldn’t make you swim,” she said.
Bower added, “I want you all to give it a shot, and I assure you it will be fun, but if you have concerns or questions come talk to me and we’ll figure it out.”
To conclude the presentation, Bower thanked Miller and Lakomski and expressed his support. “It’s great that these guys can come and talk to you about this,” he said. “What they’re doing is really important and if any of you are interested, you can talk to either one of them about joining their club.”
Freshman Jessie Coomber was not nervous about the swim unit herself, but she appreciated the discussion.
“It was beneficial to have them come talk to us,” she said. “I think it helped people understand how some people may be feeling.”