This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. In honor of it, UNC Campus Rec has launched its Body Beautiful campaign to encourage the UNC student population and the Carolina community to value their bodies and celebrate social, physical and mental well-being.
Body Beautiful is encouraging men and women to be proud of their bodies. Campus Rec is committed to promoting positive body image and holistic health. Our message: Celebrate confidence. Celebrate health. Celebrate your body.
First, thank you to the Loreleis, the Achordants, Cadence and Tar Heel Voices for putting together this incredible medley of songs to help promote this campaign. We are thrilled that so many influential groups on campus are committed to Body Beautiful.
Second, thank you to Camille McGirt for sharing her story. Camille is one of the many participants in this campaign. She so graciously opened up to us to share her story. She sums up our message, as she says, “every person is beautiful and taking care of your body is vitally important.” We are all so inspired by Camille’s moving story, for her actions in this community and for her positive view on body image and health.
Camille McGirt’s Story:
As a young girl I grew to stand up as a 6’4” woman. Growing up I was often teased and ridiculed about my height. By playing sports, participating in enrichment programs and having several women in my life that have served as positive role models, I have been able to achieve unparalleled success. While in college, I’ve participated in Division I athletics, interned at the White House and on Capitol Hill, received some of the highest academic honors at UNC and Hampton University, and created a nationally award-winning not-for-profit organization. I can only attribute my success to my experiences as an athlete and well-rounded student. Since I was a young girl I have always had people in my life that have taught me the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle by staying closely involved in sports, school and my community. I feel like it’s my moral duty to teach girls those same principles to ensure future success as confident, healthy and intelligent women.
During my college athletic career I had to undergo two major surgical operations for injuries to my shoulder and knee. After the second operation, my coach told me that my scholarship would not be renewed for the upcoming school year. This was devastating because I grew up playing basketball and the sport gave me a sense of identity and purpose. But losing my scholarship helped me to realize that I could use my time to develop myself outside of being a student-athlete. Fortunately, my well-rounded activities and 3.86 GPA helped to land an internship at The White House. When I came back home and transferred to UNC, I also implemented Healthy Girls Save the World, a non-profit promoting healthy minds, healthy bodies and healthy relationships for girls ages 8-15. The program eventually developed into a nationally award-winning program. By the beginning of my senior year, I received awards from the Clinton Global Initiative Foundation to North Carolina Campus Compact. I have been able to re-devote my life from athletics to helping young girls become healthy and achieve their dreams.
Healthy Girls Save the World has grown insurmountably while being just a little over one-year-old. I am a resource hound and my track record of being able to develop and grow this program illustrates my resourcefulness. After starting school again in August 2011, I applied for the Robert E. Bryan Social Innovation grant at UNC. After our program received the grant, we had access to university resources through the partnership. I developed a group of eight students to serve as my internal team as they help me with event planning, parent communication, social media and program logistics. I was able to develop a group of 40 students and athletes that serve as volunteers for our events. Additionally, I have been able to attract attention from national, state and local organizations that have recognized our efforts.
This past semester our goal was to team up with Duke’s “Girl’s Engineering Change” to compete for the Kenan Biddle Partnership grant and we received that award. We are in the process of continuing to apply for funds through several organizations to help build the program.
Camille’s Participation in the Campaign and Definition of Beauty:
When Colleen Daly asked me to participate in this campaign I accepted with no reservations. I oftentimes find in general conversation with friends that many women do not like their bodies. Some people think that they are too big, too skinny, too short/tall or physically inferior to a large or small extent. As a 6’4” woman, it took me a very long time (especially as an adolescent) to learn to love my body. My mother and several other role models taught me about positive body image and how I should walk with my shoulders and head held high. I love my body and I keep it beautiful by eating right and working out. I am also educating young girls about positive self-image through my program, Healthy Girls Save the World. I sincerely believe that every person is beautiful and taking care of your body is vitally important. The greatest wealth is health – and Body Beautiful is helping to convey that message to our campus!
If you would like to learn more about National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, please visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org. For special events related to NEDA, please visit www.unceatingdisorders.org.