This fall, while everyone is gearing up for back-to-school, I will be embarking on a new adventure, too: serving as coach for Girls On The Run at my daughter’s school. Of course, my daughter is excited to be participating as well.
In fact, we have both been waiting for this moment since she was in Kindergarten, which was when we first heard about the organization.
Girls On The Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident.
Girls On The Run is taught with experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running.
No the girls are not trained to be elite runners, but rather, how to incorporate more physical activity into their daily (read: healthier) lives.
We recommend: Benefits & Challenges of Sports for Tween Girls
I didn’t start my running journey until a few years ago and didn’t experience my first 5K until I was over 30. I have kept running and recruited my family along the way, too.
What a gift for these young girls to be able to experience that at an early age and continue to grow from there!
But Girls on the Run is soooo much more than running.
Created specifically for girls in 3rd through 8th grade, the Girls on the Run is dedicated to “creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.”
Topics include dealing with self-image and the media, resisting peer-pressure, making healthy decisions and contributing to the community.
I am so excited for my daughter to participate in a program that will help nurture her physically, emotionally and spiritually.
“It’s amazing to see the growth that Girls on the Run has had in 20 years and how many girls’ lives we’ve been able to impact,” says Girls on the Run CEO Elizabeth Kunz.“Our mission and vision wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated council staff and volunteers across the country.”
Each season culminates with a celebratory 5k event that brings together family, friends and community members to acknowledge the girls’ accomplishments.
Whether each girl walks or runs across the finish line of the 5k race at the end of the season is irrelevant. What is more important is the tangible sense of achievement — being able to set and achieve life goals.
We recommend: How to Help Your Daughter Get Into Sports
Before I lace up as a new coach in a few weeks, I attended a coach and CPR/First Aid training, which were all provided by my local council. Once the season kicks off, it will last 10 weeks and have two after-school meetings and lessons per week.
I have a feeling that I will have just as many wonderful experiences as the girls participating and may even the program may even have a deeper impact on my life.
I will make sure to share about my journey along the way.
Girls on the Run was founded in Charlotte, NC with just 13 girls in 1996. Now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, the national organization serves 200,000 girls each year, including serving its one-millionth girl in 2015.
Want to register your daughter, niece or neighbor for the upcoming fall season? Want to get involved or volunteer? You can find your local council here.
To get more inspiration on how to find inspiring role models for your tween or teen, follow our “Mentors 4 Teens” Pinterest board:
Natalia is a PR Pro specialized in multicultural markets; Argentina-native & Miami-raised livin’ la vida loca in Charlotte; Mama Bear; Love running in sparkle skirts and tutus; iTri; Chocoholic. You can catchup with her on Twitter @curlygnat.