1) Briefly describe the Girls on the Run Program
2) In what ways does the Girls on the Run Program align with the field of youth development?
3) What youth development concepts in the Girls on the Run Program are new to you?
4) Provide you overall thought about the program.
5) What from the the Girls on the Run program could you apply to your own SBYD program?
Provide a 500 word response
Girls On the Run video #1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbbGhTOMxqs
Girls On the Run video #2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GPxD-fv-J0
Girls On the Run video #3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6OX52kYe1Y
Girls On the Run Program Statement
Girls on the Run is a North American non-profit program that works to encourage pre-teen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games, culminating in a celebratory 5k run. The organization’s curricula seek to address all aspects of the girls’ development to enhance their physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual well-being while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.
Local chapters (called “councils”) operate under an umbrella organization, Girls on the Run International, which develops curricula and provides support to the local councils. “International” also encourages the formation of additional councils in areas not yet served by the program.
The organization describes its mission as follows: “We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.” It further describes a vision: “We envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.”
Girls on the Run was established in 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Program founder Mary W. (“Molly”) Barker struggled in her own life, including a bout with alcoholism, and came to the realization that a running program gave her “respect for my body and all the things it can do.” She founded Girls on the Run with an initial group of 13 girls. The next season, there were 26, and the season after that, 75. In 2000, Girls on the Run International was recognized as a non-profit charitable organization. The program has grown to the point that in fiscal 2013, 212 local councils served 138,776 girls.As of spring of 2015, the program reported that it had served its one millionth girl overall.
Girls on the Run operates two programs for its participants to keep the lessons age-appropriate. “Girls on the Run” is for 3rd–6th graders (approximately 8 through 12 years old). “Heart & Sole” is directed to 7th–8th graders (12 through 14 years old).
Meeting twice a week in small teams of 8-20 girls, the program teaches life skills through fun, engaging lessons that celebrate the joy of movement. The 24-lesson curriculum is taught by certified coaches and includes three parts: understanding ourselves, valuing relationships and teamwork, and understanding how we connect with and shape the world at large. Over the course of the program, participants develop and improve competence, feel confidence in who they are, develop strength of character, respond to others and themselves with care and compassion, create positive connections with peers and adults, and make a meaningful contribution to community and society.
The program is designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength and inspire them to define their lives on their own terms. Throughout the season, the girls make new friends, build their confidence and celebrate all that makes them unique.
The Girls on the Run lessons encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development. The program uses the tenants of sports-based youth development to determine program activities, curricula, staff training, and guiding principles. Participants explore and discuss their own beliefs around experiences and challenges girls face at this age. They also develop strategies and skills to help them navigate life experiences. The program starts with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what is important to them. Then, participants look at the importance of teamwork and healthy relationships. Finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world.
Physical activity is woven into the program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health. At the end of each three-month session, the girls participate in a Girls on the Run 5k event, which involves other Girls on the Run teams from the community and possibly other councils. This celebratory, non-competitive event is the culminating experience of the curriculum. Coaches, parents, and community members participate, cheer, and celebrate.
The curriculum allows for more mature handling of such topics as eating disorders, internet safety, relationships, cyber-bullying and tobacco and alcohol use. Participants discuss these subjects on an in-depth level and use their personal experiences to shape thought-provoking interaction. The Heart & Sole curriculum is designed to provide each girl with “the skills to shut out the noise of the external world that is attempting to limit who she is and to instead listen to her individual truth – the one that will lead her toward an enriching and contented life.