I can't believe it's my school's second season of Girls on the Run! For those who don't know, GOTR is an organization that promotes the well-being of girls (social, emotional, and physical) in grades 3-5 and 6-8. I knew about the program because my sister participated in it while she was in elementary and middle school. It impacted her life to the extent that she felt like she conquered her heart issues, captained the cross country team in high school, and based her college essay on the program.
The chance to be able to bring GOTR to Twillman was a strong desire of mine. There are not a lot of multi-week after school clubs/programs at my school. Our school is offered as space for programs, such as Boys & Girls Club (first year satellite site), Boy and Girl Scouts meet at our school, and every once in awhile a team sport will practice in our gym or the PTA will meet in the library. Offering Girls on the Run gives some of my girls a chance to experience a program/club for the first time.
The program was unknown to girls and many teachers at my school. There was a need to spread the word. Depending on the role you take, the program could take a decent chunk of time and dedication for 10+ weeks. At my school, we also have to work towards overcoming the financial challenge for parents, since GOTR has a fee. But, through scholarships and payment plans that we promote heavily, we've managed a decent sized group. Offering computer registration nights and one or two phone calls to girls right on the cusp of joining also helps.
I am learning so much along the way and just like the other coaches, I find myself trying to think in terms of the Girls on the Run way and plug in my positive cord (because it can sometimes be a bumpy ride).
It's all worth it...
The girls understand that they are part of something special. The first season girls show their GOTR spirit almost every Friday at school by wearing their shirts. After the culminating 5k event, they'll wear their finisher medals for a week (sometimes 2). Many of them came away with self-awareness, friendships (some unexpected), and trust in each other and their coaches.