By: Anna Murray Garner
I chose to volunteer as a Girls on the Run coach beginning in the spring of 2019 because the organization encompasses two of my passions - fostering community & running. Plus, GOTR is designed to reach girls at a critical stage, ages 8 to 13, - at a time in their life when society starts to foster the idea that they, as girls, are less capable. I remember what that was like and it motivates me to show up to help girls recognize and harness their full potential.
Many think of GOTR as a program that solely promotes physical activity for girls but that is not necessarily the case. While this is true (it’s in the name!), GOTR is modeled to use physical activity as a vehicle to teach critical life skills. In fact, there is an entire evidence-based curriculum meant to help build girls’ self-confidence while demonstrating how much they are capable of and building healthy habits along the way. GOTR provides coaches training to lead lessons that focus on helping girls understand themselves, build strong and healthy relationships, and recognize that they are capable of changing the world.
While the fall 2020 season was non-traditional due to the pandemic, our team in Denver was still able to have a successful season. We came together twice a week over Zoom which allowed the girls to connect with peers, talk in a safe environment, and work through the curriculum with some modifications for the virtual setting. The practices were interactive and centered around the girls, providing them the space and time necessary to process the changing and challenging world around them. Movement was built into the practices, but their typical physical activities were completed between team practices on their own.
Overall, my experience as a GOTR coach has been extremely rewarding. It’s clear that now, more than ever, GOTR is providing critical opportunities for girls to stay healthy and connected.
To learn more about Girls on the Run and how you can support the organization, visit their website.
“The opinions expressed here are solely my opinions and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Girls on the Run® International."