When our ten 5th through 9th grade girls were asked on the first practice night of “Girls on the Run” what they thought they would be doing, polar opposite replies were heard:
“Run! We’re going to run. Can we run a mile tonight?”
“I can’t run!”
It’s a nationwide program, designed to boost self-worth, social awareness and physical health at a time in life when studies show that by adolescence, girls’ confidence drops about twice as much as boys’.
The young 20-something coaches, Libby, Rachel, Hillary and Jacob, have volunteered to come out to Coyote Hill twice a week for ten weeks. They began by getting to know the girls, and guiding them in coming up with a list of “Team Expectations.” Our young ladies’ list included things like:
Try your best.
Keep moving forward.
Ask others for help.
These girls definitely will stay alive, even though a few of them are seriously questioning their abilities and whether or not they’ll be able to do what the program requires. Yet that’s the beauty of the program. It isn’t designed to be a killer exercise program. It’s designed to inspire girls to recognize their inner strength and celebrate what makes them one of a kind…while helping them enjoy getting fit. The culmination of the ten week program will be a 5K, with all of the other mid-Missouri GOTR participants, where each girl will have a running buddy and all of the girls will be celebrated as winners for finishing the program.
Case Manager Paige Brokaw, who is spearheading the program for our girls, concludes, “Girls on the Run focuses on more than physical health and fitness. It equips girls with tools to know who they are and what they are capable of. Our prayer is that they will learn how beautifully they are created, find confidence within themselves, and build a support network with teammates and adults around them.”