Hockaday Sophomore a Body-Positive Influencer

Gold Award Girl Scout’s camp promoted mental health, positive image, steady character

As a youth camp counselor, Anya Aggarwal noted how so many girls – and even some boys – seemed bound by “a very strict parameter of what they needed to look like.”

When it came time for her Girl Scout Gold Award project, The Hockaday School student tackled the issue by starting Beautiful Body through Beautiful Mind – Inside and Out, a camp to educate the younger generation about mental health and body image.

Working with United to Learn (U2L), she created a science-focused curriculum, the introduction of which created a “ripple effect into a bigger workshop” where others would assist, “expand on the concepts we were learning, and create fun hands-on projects,” Anya said.

In these camps, she would “teach them about their own bodies and what’s actually happening to them.”

Anya found her campers “eager” to learn and said she loved having the opportunity to influence them in such an important part of their life.

“It’s important to keep your character steady in a world that’s constantly changing.” Anya Aggarwal

Earlier this year, the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas featured Anya, now a sophomore and Gold Award recipient, in an exhibit hosted at Galleria Dallas.

“Redefining Influencers,” a campaign focused on how influencers could set a new, positive example for teens to look up to, explored how social media, while potentially beneficial, does have a downside.

“We’re often shown this specific look or facade that we have to conform to, especially as teenagers,” Anya said.  

But an influencer “can mean a variety of things; it doesn’t have to be conformed into one definition,” she said. “An influencer is not about how you look. It’s about how you’re impacting other people to use their voice and knowledge, and (how you) spread that knowledge to other people.”

Her goal is to let girls know they can do anything they put their minds to, especially if their interest is in science.

“(I want to) show them representation within robotics, medicine,” Anya said, and how these are all “fields women can aspire to go into.”

She wants to enlighten young women that when they know more about who they are, they can inspire others.

“My friends say that when they get a compliment from a girl, it means that much more,” Anya said, adding that the more such conversations happen with teen girls, the better they can attain understanding, which builds self-esteem. “It’s important to keep your character steady in a world that’s constantly changing.”

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