FRIDAY FOCUS – Girls on the Run Southern Maryland

Girls on the Run, Southern Maryland empowers girls to recognize their inner strength and have the confidence to live a healthy and happy life. This moving organization instills confidence, care, connections, character, competence and contribution into young girls lives so that they realize their potential to achieve more than they thought possible. Girls on the Run of Southern Maryland provides fun, personal programs to celebrate the joy of movement, while developing leadership skills and friendly connections. In this week’s Friday Focus we caught up with Kristine Hall, Council Director of Girls on the Run, Southern Maryland and learned just how inspiring this organization truly is. Read more to discover their upcoming events and how to get involved!

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

Girls on the Run Southern Maryland is a physical activity based positive youth development organization that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum, which creatively integrates running. Our council was established in January 2017 and serves girls in Charles and St. Mary’s counties. We use Lerner’s Five Cs + 1 framework as a basis for its intentionally designed curriculum, creating lessons that target the promotion of competence, confidence, connection, character, caring and contribution to society. The program’s personal development goals and social-contextual features have tremendous potential for promoting a lifetime of healthy behaviors while preventing unhealthy behaviors. Meeting twice a week in small teams of 8-15 girls, the program teaches life skills through fun, engaging lessons that celebrate the joy of movement. The 20-lesson curriculum is taught by certified Girls on the Run coaches and includes three parts: understanding ourselves, valuing relationships and teamwork and understanding how we connect with and shape the world at large. During the season, each team creates and executes a local community service project. This experience demonstrates to girls the unimaginable strength that comes from helping others. At each season’s conclusion, the girls and their running buddies complete a celebratory, non-competitive 5K running event. Completing a 5K gives the girls a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. The Girls on the Run 5K also often serves as a conduit for inspiring family, friends and communities to begin a journey towards health.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

Girls on the Run Southern Maryland believes that all girls and communities should have access to our programs. We strive to eliminate barriers to participation and to continue creating programming that engages all communities. We are very excited to announce that we are serving C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School, a Title I school, in our first season this fall.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge is publicity. As a brand-new organization, we are working to establish new sites at local schools to ensure all girls have access to our program.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

Our biggest event this fall is our end of season 5K on November 18 at 9am at Southern Maryland Blue Crabs stadium. Registration will open on our website (https://www.gotrsomd.org/5K) on September 1.

Our fall 2017 season registration opens on August 12 and we will start our season on September 11.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

We are a 100% volunteer organization and are always looking for new people. Coaches are the backbone of our organization who work with the girls over the course of 10 weeks. We provide free CPR/AED/First-Aid training to all our coaches. Coaches are also required to complete a background check and attend a mandatory 4-hour training. Interested community members can apply to be a coach on our website.

We are also looking for 5K volunteers. Registration for our 5K volunteers will open on September 1 along with our 5K registration. Lastly, for those interested in taking a more involved role, are always looking to for new members on our board of directors.

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