Do you know what that means?
One of the greatest things about Girls on the Run is that we never turn a girl away because of their inability to pay, in fact, about 60% of our GOTRs participate with the help of a scholarship. For many of our girls, GOTR is the first extracurricular activity they have the opportunity to participate in.
Also, since GOTR occurs after school, transportation, which is sometimes a barrier to extra curricular activities, is not an issue. If you have ever met me, seen my Instagram posts (like this one about personal values, or this one or this one or this one) read this post or this one, you'll know why providing scholarships and running shoes makes me so excited.
I am just as delighted about the new curriculum!! Specifically, 'Heart & Sole', the new Girls on Track curricula. Girls on Track serves girls in 6th - 8th grade. I have never coached a Girls on Track team, but I have gone through the curriculum to make supply lists for Coach boxes. Let me just say that the current Girls on Track curricula is rough. After one or two seasons, Coaches who aren't teachers should be able to modify the text/lessons to bring it up to speed, but what to do until then? For example, there is a lesson on online safety, it focuses on MYSPACE and Facebook. I don't even think girls in middle school know what MySpace is. (This is one part of GOTR International [councils purchase curricula from them] that I haven't been super impressed with. I often wonder if the people who write it ever sit down to read it and/or teach it. BUT there is new leadership and this update proves they are making improvements!)
Also this: '...its totally cool if you just want to chill.' <-- That is a real life sentence in the GOT curriculum. That being said, I am THRILLED that we will be able to provide our Middle School sites with the new 'Heart & Sole' programming.
Developing a support system? BOUNDARY SETTING???? Can I just tell you that it was only a few years ago, maybe three to be exact, that I even learned what boundary setting was and why it was helpful? Learning about boundaries CHANGED MY LIFE. (thats a whole different post in itself, and I highly recommend the book 'Boundaries' by Henry Cloud and John Townsend) Asking for help??? CRIPES. That is good stuff. And, you know what? Middle School is where we need to be learning this kind of life-giving stuff, especially if we have parents who never had the opportunity to learn it, or aren't capable of teaching it to their kids.
To wrap up, and maybe to give you warm fuzzies for supporting GOTR, I wanted to share some questionnaires the girls fill out on the last day of practice. One of the questions is, 'What is one thing you like about yourself?' The first season I was a practice volunteer, and maybe the first season I was co-coach, the girls wrote things like my hair, my eyes, I'm pretty, etc. This is not unusual, girls typically associate body image with self-esteem or self-perception.
This Spring, I did not prompt the girls on this question, in fact I did not even read the questions out loud before they answered them. Check out their answers below!
Well, there you have it. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your support. You are changing lives. You are empowering girls. You are changing the way they see themselves and how they define their worth.