Volunteering as an Assistant Coach with Howard County’s Girls on the Run (GOTR) has been a wonderful experience so far. Every week the girls make me laugh, surprise me and inspire me. I try to think back to when I was their age and to put myself in their shoes. When I was their age, (I feel like my mother saying that) a program like this wasn’t available to me, and to be honest, I’m not even sure one even existed.
Every week GOTR meets after school and we combine a lesson and a workout as our practice. During our lessons we talk about things such as listening, gossiping, bullying, decision-making, how to develop good self-esteem and much more. Whatever the lesson is for the day, we somehow incorporate it into running. Yesterday, we had a lesson on bullying and the girls ran a half mile loop and then answered a few questions on bullying. They repeated this three more times and finished by stretching and reflecting on their responses. I was amazed by their responses and their good judgment at such a young age. I think it’s wonderful that a program such as this is offered to them early in the hopes that it will help them make healthy decisions and enable them to rise above the inevitable pressures that come with being an adolescent female.
No matter what kind of day I’m having or what’s going on in my personal life, volunteering with the girls just seems to bring me back to reality and helps me to appreciate the little things. For every lap the girls complete in practice, they get a certain amount of beads. You should see how excited they get over these beads. Sometimes they’ll even run a whole other lap when practices is over just so they can get those few more beads to add to their stash.
The girls will be running their GOTR 5K in June and I’m really hoping that by then they not only have learned something valuable and had fun but have a TON of beads to show for it 🙂