The Girls on the Run educational program will follow a new curriculum in 2019, organizers have announced.
The 10-week program focuses on athletics and emotional self-development for girls in grades three through six, culminating in a 5K run. Revising the curriculum allows girls to participate year after year without growing bored of the activities, said CFRC Prevention Coordinator Emily Stoddard, who is helming the project for the first time.
“They’re not little kids, but they’re not teenagers,” Stoddard said. “They’re at that age when it’s really important to hit on these topics, to let them know that everybody’s different and you don’t have to be a size zero like a model … We want to teach girls that confidence isn’t just in image, it’s in self-worth.”
The program meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Mt. Eccles Elementary School, and began Tuesday, Aug. 20. The climactic 5K, scheduled for Oct. 26, will be run in themed costumes. Participants ran dressed as superheroes or Disney characters in past years. The Oct. 26 race will be preceded by a practice run in which parents can participate, Stoddard said.
The CFRC will supply participating girls with tennis shoes, socks, waterproof bags and water bottles. Stoddard has taken a detail-oriented approach to curating these supplies, selecting bottles large enough to allow proper hydration, but not so large that they encourage nausea-inducing overconsumption of water. Snacks will include produce donated by AC Value Center.
Like other CFRC programs, Girls on the Run focuses on encouraging youth to build and maintain social relationships and to develop a stable sense of self-worth. Stoddard believes that physical training and emotional self-development naturally reinforce one another. A program combining physical and mental exercises is more likely to engage young people than a program focusing solely on one or the other, she said.
“The curriculum is based both on emotional growth and physical growth,” Stoddard said. “This program is a beautiful marriage between the two.”
Girls on the Run will also organize fundraisers and a community impact project, Stoddard said.