This year my Girl Scout troop and I began working on our Silver Awards. This is a multi-step process 7th and 8th graders take to make an impact in their community. It is important to choose a project involving something you are passionate about. After identifying a topic of interest, you must apply an aspect of it to a problem in your community.
One of the early steps in the Silver Award project is researching, contacting and forming a relationship with organizations that are in the field you have identified. I often visit Lululemon with my mom and one day we saw a sign outlining a campaign that OG Yoga was promoting in store.
“This project reinforced to me not only how good yoga is for physical health but how happy it makes children. In my class, all the kids were smiling and having fun. When they left the room, they were talking about how much they love yoga.“
I didn’t know who OG Yoga was or what they did so when we got home I researched them further. OG Yoga’s mission is to encourage people to do yoga and live a healthy lifestyle. I knew we would be a great fit. Yoga has helped me in my own sports career as it has helped me prevent injury. Also, it helps me stay calm and balanced when other aspects of life are stressful.
I discussed my project with the OG Yoga’s founder and CEO, JoAnn Jaffe and she was very interested in my project (she had once been a Girl Scout herself!). JoAnn was generous with her time and agreed to meet so I could talk to her about what I wanted to achieve and learn some of the goals of her organization.
After meeting it was clear that we had a similar vision about equal opportunity to exercise and athletics. JoAnn told me about all the vulnerable groups OG Yoga had helped and the effects it has on people participating in the programs. I had a special interest in the ones involving children. I thought about all the children who didn’t have the opportunity to try yoga and I began to build a plan to change that.
I developed a plan to address the root cause of the issue which is children not being aware of healthy lifestyles such as yoga. I decided to host a yoga class to show how yoga helps create a balance and helps kids be in a better frame of mind to deal with everyday problems. This addressed the root cause and gave an opportunity to underprivileged children and it showed them a new form of exercise.
Yoga and mindfulness practices benefit lives. According to the online article by The Muse “a 2009 Harvard Medical School study… found regular yoga practice helped reduce performance anxiety and improved the moods of young professional musicians in high-stress situations.” The article also states that yoga can boost self-confidence and teach self-discipline. Yoga helps build habits that can help you in everyday situations. Practicing yoga especially at a young age can improve your life greatly.
I emailed many children’s organizations to explain what I was trying to achieve and ask whether they would be willing to get involved. I made a great connection with the Boys and Girls Club of San Diego and they wanted to host a class in their facility. We planned to run the class during their Healthy Habits month, for children aged 7-9 years old.
This project reinforced to me not only how good yoga is for physical health but how happy it makes children. In my class, all the kids were smiling and having fun. When they left the room, they were talking about how much they love yoga.
One of the aspects of the Silver Award project is sustainability and I hope that this blog post will raise awareness of yoga/mindfulness for young people who don’t usually have access to such experiences. I am also hoping that people can contribute to continue OG Yoga’s amazing work by making a donation of any amount!” Please Donate Here
One of the first problems that I faced was how to fund the project. After speaking with lululemon La Jolla, they generously offered to pay for a yoga instructor. I was very grateful for their excitement of the project, it meant I could plan the class. Thank you to JoAnn and lululemon for helping me with my project. Yoga is such an important activity that I feel everyone should have in their life!
When the day of the class came I drove out to the Boys and Girls club and set up mats in anticipation of the children. They arrived excited and ready to learn yoga. I worked with OG instructor Andrea, who settled the children using her singing bowl and then led them through a series of poses. The kids enjoyed the class and their focus impressed me. The poses interested them, and they wanted to do as many as possible. It was a great experience and one that I am sure opened the children’s eyes to the possibility of the benefits of exercise.