In just two weeks we’ll lace up our shoes and run the Girls on the Run 5K! Our girls have practiced twice a week since March and are excited yet anxious for the big day. Today I’ll share why I enjoy GOTR and hope it inspires you to get involved as a coach or volunteer.
A quick 411 & GOTR mission:
Why I coach Girls on the Run
Each season is a new group of 3rd, 4th and 5th grade girls with different backgrounds, personalities, and varying levels of confidence. In the short three months of the season you get to learn about their interests and passions and use that to foster positive emotional, social, mental and physical development. You also get to learn about what’s “in” these days.
...the applicable lessons.
Each practice consists of a conversation-based lesson, an activity and running as the GOTR curriculum teaches life skills through fun and engaging themes. On this particular day we learned about the I-message statement, a technique that works well to effectively communicate our feelings and convey the desired behaviors of others.
I quickly realized the GOTR lessons not only apply to these girls’ lives but helps me live with a focus on a positive emotional, mental and physical life.
...your fellow coaches.
As a coach or volunteer you get the chance to meet the greater GOTR community. At my particular location we have three coaches and the school’s PE teacher. Safe to say these fellow coaches are amazing. They’ve coached countless seasons and their passion and commitment to these girls are rare to come by. They put their times, talents and treasures into creating an engaging and safe environment for the girls each practice.
…the community project.
Each season the girls get to decide on a community project as a group. Their ideas range from making cards for hospital patients, cookies for their teachers, painting canvases (pictured), gardening, holding a food drive or picking up trash. Their ideas are endless and heart warming as their excitement to help others is something you can’t teach.
…they love being a GOTR girl.
When a girl makes herself a GOTR binder you know it means a lot.
…the girls believe in you, too.
Both my fellow coaches had races this season which allowed our girls to create race signs. Without missing a beat the girls wrote messages and drew pictures showing they believe in us, too.
…they encourage each other.
Despite the cold or heat, it’s amazing to see the girls encourage each other. Each practice the girls run around the practice track and get a mark on their hand for each lap. The girls will buddy up to go at their desired pace and motivate each other every step of the way. As a coach it’s endearing to see them lean on each other to make just one more lap. They encourage each other throughout the season and are each other’s biggest cheerleaders at the 5K.
…they are proud of themselves.
It’s safe to say the 5K is why I coach. I had the opportunity to run with my girls and it’s quite the roller coaster. Some girls sprint to the finish while some sprint, walk, sprint, skip. Some pace themselves while listening to music from my iPhone – my preferred method.
Last season I had the chance to not run and wait for each of our girls at the finish line with their medals. Oh, was I emotional. I was shocked at how excited and moved I was seeing each of our girls see the finish line and push themselves to complete their 5K. I found myself screaming each of their names and giving them a big hug as their eyes widened in shock, relief and total excitement that they had finished a once impossible race. Their smiles following the race are pretty infectious. You can feel and see how proud they are of themselves and that’s all you can ask for as a coach.
Can’t coach? No problem. Get involved as a GOTR 5K Running Buddy.
Have old running shoes laying around? Great! Please donate them to a local GOTR team.