IDAHO — The pandemic has changed how many businesses operate; one of them is Girls on the Run, a nonprofit empowering young girls in our community through running.
One of those girls is Treasure Valley resident Gretchen Hurlbutt's 11-year-old daughter, Hendrix, who joined the program three years ago.
"The first time she ran the 5k in third grade, she was thrilled. She ran almost the whole way and was so excited for herself," said Hurlbutt. "It was such a fun moment for me as a mom and a runner to see her step up and do that."
She also said the life lesson Hendrix has learned from Girls on the Run goes far beyond running.
"She has developed a certain self-confidence and in her social abilities," said Hurlbutt. "She can kind of grow on some of these growth mindset concepts and her ideas around pressure, bullying, and social pressures."
When the pandemic hit, Girls on the Run had to postpone all their programs.
"It was hard and a lot of work, but we wanted to make sure our programs that we knew work so well could still be implemented on a virtual platform," said Girls on the Run Executive Director, Toni Ramey.
Since the pandemic started, the nonprofit has launched two virtual programs as options for families.
"Instead of girls being together face-to-face and doing something like a human knot where they work on frustration teamwork and communication to get out, we had to create another activity where girls who are connecting via a screen can also learn those same things," said Ramey.
The eight weeks, twice a week after-school program is for girls ages 8-13.
"It encompasses skills for girls to get to know themselves and their unique gifts and what their challenges are," said Ramey. "It helps them build healthy relationships and shows them they can have an impact in our community even if they are young."
With a virtual option, Girls on the Run is reaching and empowering more girls in need outside of the Treasure Valley.
"We can have a girl dial in from Weiser or from Fruitland and join us and get the benefits of the curriculum even if there isn't a team in her community," said Ramey.
It's an opportunity for more girls in Idaho to build relationships and feel connected during this isolating time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"There's so much joy and excitement when the girls are seeing each other and reconnecting in a way that just shows the importance of supportive relationships in girls' lives," said Ramey.
Girls on the Run just started their fall programs and will have another one coming up in the spring, both virtually and in-person.
For more information on the programs, click here.