Over the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of talking to Year 12 students from two girl’s schools, my old high school included, ahead of schoolies. It was quite a nerve-racking experience, but it was a hoot!
I have spoken at various schools over the last few years, but my real passion talking to teenage girls about the need to respect the sun, their skin and be sun smart… and most of all, teach them to NOT TAN! If you need a tan, embrace the fake tan!
It is this age group where the role of the parent and teacher to ensure sun safety begins to lose its strength. Teenage girls are faced with the pressure to look a certain way, which often involves a tan. It is also the age where the girls need to start taking responsibility for their life and future.
Honestly, there is no better time than just before schoolies, and possibly a week of Gold Coast sun, to talk to Year 12 students about sun safety and melanoma.
The first thing I told both groups of students is that I was not there to scare them. I will never tell anyone to never go in the sun. I also knew that I had to address the topic with ease – if I went in and told them to implement all the sun protection that I do, and need to, on a daily basis I would have lost them. I am well aware that if I suggested wearing a swim shirt 90% of them would have tuned out, instead I provided them with options.
It is all about making smart choices and taking control.
We spoke about my story and I probably scared them and then we went on to talk about the myths surrounding melanoma – one of my favourite topics! (Any one that makes a comment on social media ‘just getting a bit of Vitamin D’, you can trust that I am laughing/shocked about how ill-informed people are). And of course we spoke in depth about the important role of prevention and early detection.
Yesterday I bumped into one of the parents whose daughter listened to me speak and she thanked me. She went on to tell me her daughter is already implementing my sun safe tips and teaching her family about some of the facts about melanoma. Success! She also informed me that she was going to get a fake tan that night – if you want a tan I say go for it. Embrace that fake tan!
Congratulations to all the Year 12 students that finished today and are off to Schoolies tomorrow! Well done! Like I said to you last week, live life with purpose.
I look forward to making these talks, especially around Schoolies, a regular event for me.
*With the launch of the new website and the new direction for Dear Melanoma, Emma will be opening her calendar to more speaking engagements. If you, your business, or school are interested please visit the ‘Working with Emma’ page.