In the past few weeks, I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to volunteer as a coach at a nearby site. (I plan to start a site at my school next year, but for now I'm just happy to be coaching!) I have to say that coaching GOTR has not fallen at all short of my expectations. There are many things I love about Girls on the Run, but here are some of my favorites...
ONE: Healthy Body Image & Self-Esteem
The Girls on the Run curriculum is SATURATED with activities and lessons that focus on building the girls' self-esteem. For example, last week we wrote down negative self-talk comments we say to ourselves on index cards (ex. "I'm a bad runner) and positive self-talk comments (ex. I love my sense of humor!). Then, the girls DRAMATICALLY read their negative comments aloud before "feeding" them to No-Nonsense Nelly (aka a shoe box with a monster face on it). We all cheered when they fed the negative comments to the monster! Later, during the running workout, every time the girls passed a coach, they were given a card with one of the positive comments on it to hold/read during their lap. While running with the girls, I have to say that even I loved getting a card that said something like "I'm a great runner!" to hold during my lap! GOTR is about so. much. more than running, and in a world where girls are fed so many horrible messages about what they should or shouldn't look like, be like, or act like, any program that celebrates them for who they are is important.
This is the message engraves on the back of the GOTR 5K medals, and it touches my heart when I read it. What a great message for girls (or anyone) to grow up hearing.
TWO: Active Kids
I'm pretty uncoordinated. Like pathetically uncoordinated. So, as a child, I never got involved in sports. They just weren't fun for me because I was so terrible. After awhile, I placed myself in a neat little box of "non-athletes," and it was only in the past few years that I realized that being uncoordinated does NOT mean that I can't be an athlete. Girls on the Run not only gets kids UP and MOVING AROUND, but it reminds the girls in the program that they can be athletes, no matter how fast or slow they are. GOTR is NOT about competition, it's about getting moving and having fun. The program makes fitness and being active fun. The workouts always have a fun, energetic twist, and girls are always encouraged to walk if they feel like it (or skip, dance, twirl, you name it!). It's a unique way to "grab" girls who otherwise may not be interested in sports, and show them that being active is FUN!
THREE: Going for it!
I can't wait for the Spring 5K in June--let's hope my legs are in good shape and I can run with them!