Q: What does Girls on the Run do?
One girl put it this way, “I learned that I am the boss of my brain.” Helping girls take charge of their lives and define the future on their terms. You can also think of it as Can University—a place where girls learn that they can. No limits. No constraints. Only opportunities to be remarkable.
Q: How do we play a role in our girls’ lives?
Lots of ways, but we start with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them. Then we look at the role of teams and healthy relationships. And, finally, we explore how girls can positively connect with and shape the world. And remember, we believe that life-changing experiences can be fun too—for everyone—the girls, coaches, families and other volunteers. So don’t be surprised when you hear laughter along with self-reflection and see beaming smiles across the beautiful, confident faces of our girls.
Q: Why the Young Age?
A: Studies show that girls between the ages of eight and twelve are still receptive to adult influence, while at the same time beginning to feel peer pressure. It’s an age psychologists call the latency period of development when girls begin to confront important life and relationship issues. As a prevention program, Girls on the Run© initiates healthy decision making and prepares girls for these difficult issues.
In addition, learning healthy exercise habits early in life increases the chances that participants will value their own physical fitness as adults. Recent studies show that only those who develop exercise habits in their teen years or earlier are likely to maintain those habits for life. It’s well documented that regular, moderate exercise improves cardiovascular functioning and reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, osteoporosis (brittle bones), and obesity. In addition, girls of this age are more open to the positive peer influences, positive adult role models and the confidence enhancing which are all parts of the GOTR experience.
Q: Is it safe for young girls to run the 5K (3.1 mile) distance?
A: “Children’s bodies are well suited for endurance exercise, and numerous studies have shown that children show many positive physiological adaptations to endurance exercise training. The keys are gradual progression and common-sense adult supervision. If those conditions are met, running three miles is a reasonable goal for most young people.”
-Russell R. Pate, Ph.D., Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina
Q: Do girls need to like running to sign up for the program?
A: No, we do not focus on speed or competition, and we fully expect that girls may need to do some walking, especially at first. Because our program is non-competitive, we attract girls of all shapes, sizes and abilities and just ask them to try their best.
Q: How long is your program?
A: Our 10-week programs meet twice per week at various locations in King County. Our fall season runs from late September through early December, and our spring season runs from early March through late May. At the end of both seasons, there is a 5K run/walk for all the girls.
Q: Does my daughter have to attend the school where the program is offered?
A: No. With a few exceptions, girls are welcome to attend any program at any school that fits within their schedule.
Q: What about a program for boys?
A: Learn about the program for boys that GOTRI piloted and eventually had to cancel, and another program for boys called “Let Me Run:” http://www.gotrwillamette.org/2011/07/05/why-girls-not-boy/
Q: How can I get involved?
A: We are ALWAYS looking for more volunteers! There are positions available for everyone – you could become a running buddy, a volunteer coach, a member of one of our leadership or event committees or a Solemate. And don’t worry, you don’t have to be a runner to volunteer for Girls on the Run! Check out our Get Involved page for more information on how to get involved!