Mount Airy Site Visit
On a warm afternoon in April, I had the pleasure of observing a very well-run Girls on the Run Program.
Mount Airy Elementary has a lot of enthusiastic girls this season, and a team of cheerful, energetic coaches to match.
The program at Mount Airy epitomizes the GOTR vision -- it was organized, supportive, safe, positive, and encouraging (not to mention extremely welcoming to their “special guest” for the day). The girls were clear about what was expected of them and the warm ups and getting on board went smoothly. All the girls were happy and excited throughout the entire workout.
I was extremely impressed by the coaching at this site. There was great communication and enthusiasm from all the volunteers, and it was clear that this benefited the girls immensely. Every single person I saw was encouraging, excited, and joyful.
I brought some special “lap counters” for the girls--I think it was just star-shaped stickers and loom bracelets--which were met with excitement and cheers. Do you remember the days when some simple stickers could make your day? It really brightens your outlook on life to be around a group of happy little girls.
It didn’t hurt that this was the day before their spring break started, but I have a feeling that the cheerful atmosphere I witnessed wasn’t an anomaly.
Girls at this age really need a bright spot in their lives. Even with the most idyllic home life and positive school experience, navigating the obstacles of adolescence and development can be tough. And many children experience challenges above and beyond the normal growing pains of childhood.
I am once again reminded of the incredible impact of Girls on the Run and Heart and Sole. The programs are a priceless opportunity for girls this age to directly address social challenges, physical changes, interpersonal relationships, and peer pressure with caring, thoughtful adults. The lessons I’ve personally learned as a coach are still with me, and my daughters and I still break out GOTR strategies when picking our way through sticky familial disputes.
All the girls who have the experience of the GOTR curriculum will be better for it. I see the impact every day “behind the scenes,” and had the enormous pleasure of witnessing it in real life at Mount Airy Elementary.