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Celebrating Active Girls Day in March: Breaking Down Barriers and Building Confidence


Active Girls Day is an annual initiative that celebrates the amazing work going into girls’ sport the progress around their participation, and acknowledging the incredible role models making it all happen.

Historically it was celebrated on a single day, but Active Schools has decided to extend the celebrations for the whole month of March.  

It is so important for everyone to get involved in sport and physical activity, but some groups face unique challenges and barriers to participation. For girls specifically, some of these barriers include their experiences in PE, struggles with self-esteem and body confidence, and wider issues such as access to facilities and the lack of visible female role models in sport.

Despite progress in breaking down these barriers, there is still a noticeable gap between female and male participation rates, especially during the teenage years. There is some incredible work happening across Active Schools in Aberdeen in attempt to bridge this gap to make sport and physical activity more inclusive for everyone.

Active Girls Day is all about raising awareness of this work and celebrating the positive impact made!

‘Confidance’ Programme

A new ‘Confidance’ programme has been launched by Active Schools Aberdeen in Abbotswell Road School and Greyhope School, building girls’ confidence through dance. With participants from P6 and P7, this exciting initiative aims to empower young minds while promoting physical activity and mental well-being.

At its core, the programme seeks to act as a vehicle of change for young people. By engaging in dance, participants not only enhance their physical well-being but also cultivate self-esteem and confidence.

Sarah Masterson, Active Schools Assistant and Programme Organiser at Sport Aberdeen, said: “I am excited to share my lifelong passion for dance with young people in schools! Dance is such a powerful expression of self, together with physical intensity, that really allows us to explore and process what it means to be human. I hope that my work helps to develop self-belief and confidence in future generations.”

Each week, Sarah gathers with the girls in the programme to discuss various aspects surrounding confidence such as how to build self -belief and what it means to be authentic. Sarah then links the music track choice and choreography to that discussion to consolidate and implement the chosen topic.

One of the standout features of the ‘Confidance’ programme is its emphasis on connection. Participants are encouraged to connect with themselves, their coach, fellow participants and the music. This holistic approach creates a supportive environment where girls feel both challenged and encouraged to express themselves freely.

These sessions have been running successfully in 45–60-minute blocks for the past three weeks. The duration strikes a balance between engagement and accessibility.

The ‘Confidance’ programme is not solely about dance; it is about fostering confidence, connection, and empowerment. As participants continue to explore the world of movement and expression, they are equipped with valuable tools to navigate the challenges of growing up with confidence and resilience.

Young Ambassadors at St Machar Academy

Young Ambassadors at St Machar Academy – Alesha and Ebony – are having an incredible impact on their peers by getting them excited about sport and physical activity.

With the guidance of Active Schools Co-ordinator James Sadio and PE teacher Mr. Derek Kasslestrand, Alesha and Ebony have been brainstorming ideas to promote sport and physical activity within their school and the wider community. Their brainstorming sessions have led to some fantastic initiatives including the lunchtime volleyball club exclusively for female pupils. What started with only a few participants has grown into a thriving club, with 20-25 girls showing up each week.

Ebony recently suggested starting a sports club for P6-P7 students for all schools across the Hazelhead ASG (associated school group which she will coach it herself – a brilliant opportunity to see her confidence and leadership skills grow and shine through.

Every six weeks, Alesha, Ebony, James and Mr. Kasslestrand come together to brainstorm strategies for promoting sports participation and enhancing the overall Active Schools experience. This led to Alesha’s brilliant idea of creating a notice board to celebrate student sporting achievements. Because at Active Schools, every success is worth celebrating!

So, here’s to Alesha, Ebony, and all the Young Ambassadors making a real difference in their schools and communities. With their passion and dedication, the future of sports at St Machar Academy is brighter than ever!

With Sport Aberdeen celebrating Active Girls Day for the entire month of March, it is a perfect time to highlight the remarkable efforts of programmes like ‘Confidance’ and the dedication of young ambassadors like Alesha and Ebony. Together, we’ll continue to dismantle barriers and nurture confidence in girls’ sports and physical activity.