IDAHO — Spring is here, and Girls on the Run is getting ready to hit the pavement to celebrate!
Girls on the Run has been operating in southwest Idaho for more than two decades, offering physical activity-based programming for girls in third to eighth grades.
"It's an after-school program for girls that incorporates physical activity while teaching them life skills, encouraging their own personal development, fostering meaningful connections between the girls and others in their lives, and also encouraging them to make a meaningful contribution to their community," explains Toni Ramey, Girls on the Run Treasure Valley's executive director.
The program starts by helping girls get a better understanding of who they are and what is important to them. The group also examines what makes a relationship healthy, and how to stand up for yourself and others.
Sessions are held twice a week with small teams coached by trained volunteers. Participants complete two capstone events during the season: a girl-created community service project and a non-competitive 5K celebration.
Ramey says organizations like Girls on the Run are more important now than ever as families continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As we all know, this last year has been really difficult for everyone, but the impact on our children has not been quantified yet. It's impacted their schooling, their friendships, their relationships with other adults outside of their meaningful family, and Girls on the Run provides girls with a safe space to make healthy connections with their peers and with other adult mentors," says Ramey.
Much like their recent fall season, Girls on the Run is making COVID-safe changes to the upcoming spring season.
"We offer our traditional after-school teams that meet in-person with coaches on school grounds, but in addition to that, we've also started some community teams that meet at parks after school," Ramey says. "We also have a virtual version of Girls on the Run so if a girl lives in an area where there isn't an in-person team available to her and still wants to participate, we now have teams that draw from all over the Treasure Valley and meet online."
Before COVID-19, only 13% of adolescent girls were meeting the recommended standard of 60 minutes of physical activity per day, compared to 30% of boys. Girls on the Run says because physical activity and health are directly tied to emotional and social well-being, it's important to work with girls now to teach them healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
If a family needs financial assistance to take part in Girls on the Run, scholarships are available.
"With the help of some of our sponsors and partners, like Regence BlueShield of Idaho, we have never had to turn a girl away to pay the registration fee," says Ramey. "When they go online and register their girl, there's financial assistance available during that registration process."
Girls on the Run is also making plans for summer, announcing the first CAMP GOTR which is a one-week, half-day camp taking place this June or July.
To sign up for Girls on the Run or to find out more, click here. The spring season starts March 29.