Courtesy: Girls on the Run
The mission of Girls on the Run is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running. The goal of Girls on the Run is to help girls develop the skills and confidence necessary to avoid conforming to a set of social standards for girls/women that are often unattainable and dangerous to their health and wellbeing.
Girls on the Run-Sierras (GOTR-S) serves Reno, Sparks, Sun Valley, Incline Village, Truckee, Kings Beach, Tahoe City and South Lake Tahoe. GOTR-S is currently partnered with 33 schools in Washoe County; 36% of them are Title 1 schools (Title I schools are schools with large concentrations of low-income students. These schools receive supplemental Federal funds designed to decrease the academic achievement gap created when students live in poverty).
Courtesy: Girls on the RunGOTR is designed for girls ages 8 to 13 years old because children of this age are receptive to adult influences yet are beginning to feel the pull of peer pressure. These formative years are the perfect time to address issues and develop healthy social and emotional skills. An emphasis is placed on independent thinking, making healthy choices, positive group dynamics, and problem solving.
The curriculum stresses peer support and doing one’s best, and rejects exerting power over others. GOTR-S believes that all girls are at risk of succumbing to negative peer pressure regardless of race, class, family structure, or athletic ability. While all girls benefit from GOTR-S programming, those with fewer opportunities to participate in physical activity and enrichment programs can benefit the most. As such, we are committed to never turning away a girl due to her family’s financial situation and offer financial-assistance to qualifying families.
Courtesy: Girls on the RunGOTR-S offers two programs: Girls on the Run, for 3rd-5th graders and Heart & Sole, for 6th-8th graders. All GOTR-S programs are physical activity based, positive youth development programs that teach girls life skills while physically training for a 5K running event. Although each lesson includes a physical workout, GOTR-S is much more than a running program.
Girls on the Run teaches life skills and physical skills concurrently. Life skills are defined as social, psychological, and physical competencies to successfully navigate life experiences. Trained and supportive volunteer coaches serve as positive adult female role models and implement the curriculum which teaches girls the ‘5c’s + 1’: caring, connection, character, competence, confidence and contribution. The acquisition of these life skills results in the promotion of physical, mental, and social health outcomes and the prevention of unhealthy/risky behaviors.
Courtesy: Girls on the RunOur 30-hour program for elementary school girls meets after school twice a week. The curriculum encourages positive social, emotional, and physical development. The initial lessons provide girls with opportunities to examine their own core values, learn about their individual strengths while setting personal goals, and explore the importance of being physically and emotionally healthy.
Subsequent lessons provide opportunities to explore teamwork and leadership skills including active listening, assertiveness, conflict resolution, and decision-making skills. The final lessons provide opportunities to explore their responsibility to the community, analyze cultural messages in the media, and recognize the power they have to positively change the world utilizing a community impact project. Physical activity is woven into the program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build healthy habits.
Heart & Sole is a program for middle school girls. The curriculum is designed with themes girls can relate to at this age and helps build life skills, particularly those necessary for the challenges of adolescence. Heart & Sole is accessible to all girls regardless of athletic ability or fitness level. Participants are broken into ‘teams’, allowing the opportunity to build relationships with their coaches and peers.
The program teaches team-building, creating a support system, boundary setting, making connections, goal setting, problem solving, emotional regulation, self-care, overcoming obstacles, and decision making. Girls participate in activities related to spirit, body, heart, brain, and social skills. After each session, the girls use a journal to record goals, effort, and to self-reflect on the topics discussed that day. Physical activity remains a core element and it includes more rigorous strength and conditioning circuits appropriate for this age group.
At the end of each program, the girls participate in a Girls on the Run 5K. This celebratory, non-competitive event is the culminating experience of the curriculum. Completing the 5K gives the girls a tangible understanding of the confidence that comes through accomplishment as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when the girls realize that even the seemingly impossible IS possible.
As a small nonprofit organization, Girls on the Run-Sierras relies on the energy and dedication of volunteers to fulfill its mission. In 2019, more than 350 community members volunteered over 7,425 hours to help with programming, events, and fundraising.
This article was provided by Girls on the Run-Sierras. Plumas Bank sponsors this content.