Youth program provides tablets

Girls in CFRC program will keep track of fitness with smart watches

Girls on the Run participants will use tablets to meet with coaches and peers by video chat. (Aug. 27, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Cordova Family Resource Center has distributed electronic tablets and smart watches to participants in its annual Girls on the Run educational program. Organizers hope that these devices will give participants an easy way to keep in contact with their coaches and peers in spite of social-distancing restrictions. Participants who complete the program will be allowed to keep their tablets.

The program won’t encourage excessive screen time, but will use electronics as a tool to encourage girls to exercise, said CFRC executive director Nicole Songer. The Android tablets used by the program, costing around $60 each, are customized to allow girls to participate with minimal risk of technical glitches or other complications, organizers said. Use of Kindle tablets was rejected because doing so would have required each participant to open an Amazon account.

Cordova’s Girls on the Run program is a course in physical and emotional self-development for girls in grades three through five. This year’s program will include a weekly 90-minute lesson and a one-on-one check-in with a coach. The program begins Friday, Sept. 11, training girls for a 5K run provisionally scheduled for Oct. 30. Eight girls signed up for this year’s program, organizers said. The deadline to enroll in the program was Aug. 26.

Each week, CFRC will deliver packages with activity materials to participating households. These materials will include makeup and other self-care items, as well as art and crafting supplies. One activity on emotional self-management will make use of earrings with emoji designs. Also included in the packages will be “exercise cards” that will allow girls to play card games incorporating workout activities. Smart watches will monitor girls’ running speed and step count while exercising.

This year’s program was organized by interim prevention coordinator Jessica Wray, with the help of administrative assistant Lindsay Phillips. The elementary school carnival usually held after the run has been canceled. However, the program’s traditional finish-line archway will be set up on the day of the 5K run. The run will be staggered so that participants will be able to maintain a cautious distance among themselves.

“I’m excited about it,” Songer said. “It’s a little bit different, but… we’ve really tried to think about how we can make this still be meaningful and successful.”