If you are involved in working with girls, you need to make sure you get your hands on the new Wise Up resource pack. Wise Up is a programme for teenage girls (aged 10 -18) which helps facilitate discussion on a diverse range of issues which are relevant to young women today. As its name suggests, Wise Up aims to empower young women to make healthy lifestyle choices at an age when they are exploring the roots of their identity.
The resource pack, which includes a clearly written book as well as a CD Rom containing photocopiable sheets, provides an incredible 60 ready-to-run sessions containing activities, role play and discussion questions. This is two years’ worth of material! The resource is structured to cover six key themes – exploring a healthy lifestyle, building healthy relationships, self-image, healthy habits & attitudes, sex & relationships and sexual health.
So what are its strengths? A quality, flexible and accessible resource tool which equip leaders to facilitate worthwhile, valuable and transforming discussion on the ‘hot topics’ in today’s culture is much needed. We all know the statistics...
- Bliss magazine asked 2000 girls, aged between 10 and 19, how they felt about their bodies. Nine out of ten confessed they weren’t happy with how they looked and two-thirds thought they needed to lose weight.
- Between 1 in 12 and 1 in 15 young people self-harm in the UK and some research suggests the UK has the highest rate of self-harm in Europe.
- The Centre for Disease Control estimates that 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur each year, almost half among 15- to 24-year-olds.
As people who are passionate about working with young women, we can all put faces to the above statistics (maybe even our own adolescent face?) All around us, we know young women who are failing to make wise and informed lifestyle choices. It is heartbreaking and it makes this resource necessary! Wise Up tackles issues such as eating disorders, depression, self-harm, sexual intimacy and body image in a sensitive yet empowering manner. For the ease of the facilitator, each session has a number of set aims (to frame the session) and a pick’n’mix bag of various dynamic, interactive activities which will be engaging to young people of all learning styles. I know that anyone involved in youth work will appreciate the flexibility that it offers! Another big plus is that is fun – young people will enjoy doing these (often humorous) activities. My own girls’ group had great fun exploring the healthy mind and emotions session. Another very positive attribute of the resource is that it does not tell young people what to think but provides them with the tools to explore their own values and beliefs and space to critically assess the damaging ones that the surrounding culture has placed upon them. As someone who is passionate about empowering young women, I was also refreshed to see that the resource steers clear of solely focusing on self-image, promoting a passive form of femininity or a fluffy pink stereotypical view of girls’ ministry.
Wise Up also contains an optional ‘Bible bit’ to link discussion to the Scriptures. Although the ‘Bible bit’ is only a few sentences long and does not provide much background for the facilitator, it does give the option for youth workers to delve into relevant Scripture passages. But perhaps this can also be seen as its core strength? The sessions would be excellent in secular contexts – schools, youth clubs and social care - as it is underpinned by core Christian values thus providing a relevant bridge to bring Jesus into these spheres. I am excited about the covert mission potential here!
So how can you get your hands on the Wise Up resource pack? Visit the website http://www.wiseup.info for further info as well as the opportunity to download two taster sessions for free.
Claire Rush is the Esther Generation Project Facilitator for The Girls’ Brigade England & Wales.