Girls on the Run aims to impact young girls, primarily between third and eight grade by “using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.” Navigating the waters of youth and adolescence has long since lost it’s Norman Rockwellian patina, as the increasing awareness of societal pressures and shifting societal expectations, have come front and center. While some opine that young girls should be “just be kids,” that mentality simply doesn’t address the pressures related to what are now age-specific norms.
Girls on the Run couples healthful, empowering activities with “researched based curricula which includes dynamic discussions, activities and running games.” In a nutshell, girls are paired with trained volunteer coaches, who over the span of a ten week program, engage the girls to develop skills that will help them navigate their world, while hopefully instilling a love of health and activity.
At the end of the ten week program, the girls are mentally and physically ready to complete a celebratory 5k. This year, in our region, those girls are coming together as 496 strong on June 2 at Everett Memorial Stadium.
The local council of GOTR, which is a nation-wide organization with 225 councils, was seeded by Megan Wolfe, who is the also the Executive Director. She explains that the councils themselves are independent non-profits.
GOTR of Snohomish is in its third year, and only has three staffers including Megan herself. Megan comes from a distinctly different path of life as far as careers go, with a professional background in planning and public transit. It was her drive to become a volunteer six years ago that placed her on a path to take on the task of starting a local presence for GOTR. “I just had that itch to do more, you know?”
Based on their belief that all girls should have an opportunity to foster their best selves, GOTR has put in place financial aid to reach as many girls from all walks of life that they can. Fees are sliding scale based on household income, and range between $20-$165.
Wolfe admits that she is actively seeking running buddies for the girls, and that traditionally, those buddies return the following year, seeking to be coaches.
They are actively recruiting adult women to be Running Buddies at the June 2 event. All girls in the program are paired with an adult buddy for both safety and encouragement at the event, and 165 girls still need buddies. Running Buddies must be over 18 and female. Registration is on the website, noted below.
GOTR was established in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1996 and began with mere thirteen girls, which doubled the following year. In 2015, they surpassed the millionth girl reached.
To learn more about them, their practices or volunteer opportunities, start with: https://www.girlsontherunsnoco.org/