Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Girls on the Run is a program that teaches girls to be goal-oriented, healthy and confident. The interactive curriculum is fun and challenging, covering meaningful topics such as self-awareness, building healthy relationships, and developing personal strengths while engaging in physical activities.
Girls on the Run of Central Illinois offers a ten week training session for girls grades 3-6 in Jacksonville at several local sites this spring. North School, South School, Our Saviour, and the YMCA will all host programs after school, with the YMCA site being open to students of any Morgan County school (no membership required). Open registration runs through February 25th at 5 pm online at www.GOTRcentralillinois.org.
Beginning the first week of March, each program consists of at least eight girls (but no more than fifteen) with two trained coaches who guide each hour and fifteen minute session twice per week. Over the course of the program, the girls condition for the 5K race at the end of the session. The spring 2014 5K (non-competitive) will be held on Saturday, May 17th at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, and is open to the entire community.
While training to complete a 5K, girls also learn about self-esteem, teamwork, and giving back to the community. Past community service projects have included collecting food for the local food pantry and creating anti-bullying posters that were hung around the school.
“I love seeing the girls cross the finish line at the end of the 5K,” said Kate Roth, Morgan County GOTR Coordinator. “Just seeing them so proud and the look on their faces—there’s always tears. It really teaches them a life skill of setting a goal and achieving it,” she continued. Last season about 50 girls completed the program in Morgan County. And it’s not just a one-time experience—girls are welcome to repeat the program each year to continue training. “Some girls have been in the program since we started back in 2011,” said Roth.
For the coming session, the coaches have been lined up for the various sites, but practice partners are always welcome. This more flexible role allows volunteers to come work with the girls without attending a formal training and work more as a supporter rather than a leader.
North Elementary: Monday/Wednesday 2:45pm-4p
South Elementary: Monday/Wednesday 3:45pm-5pm
Our Saviour School: Tuesday/Thursday 3:15pm-4:30pm
YMCA: Tuesday/Thursday 5:15pm-6:30pm