New Coaches Share Why They're Loving GOTR!
Thinking about starting a Girls on the Run and/or Heart & Sole site for next season? You have time! We are accepting applications until November 30th and we would love to have your site join us this spring season!
Fall 2016 season brought us 13 new sites!! Adams Elementary and Sigel Elementary of St. Louis Public School District are two of these sites and they are rocking it! I was able to visit them and participate in practice and WOW, can I go back to elementary school?! Coach Jessica and Coach Sara from Sigel Elementary and Coach Lindsay and Coach Kimberly from Adams Elementary answered a few questions about their experience so far and we thought you might like to hear what they have to say!
What are some of your favorite things about having Girls on the Run at your school?
Coach Jessica from Sigel Elementary: I enjoy getting to spend time with my students in a more fun and relaxed setting. We get the opportunity to talk about fun subjects and get to know one another in a relaxing and exciting environment. I like to see the girls explore more about themselves and reflect on who they are and what they are passionate about. I like to see them building self-confidence and working hard to accomplish a goal. I like how girls on the run makes exercising fun. The girls enjoy the games involved in the curriculum and are getting a great workout at the same time.
Coach Lindsay from Adams Elementary: My favorite thing about Girls on the Run is that it is fun! It provides a really great opportunity for us to step out of roles as teachers and have friendly relationships with students. Developing relationships with these girls has helped us in our day to day interactions with them as well. We are able to be better teachers and classroom supporters for them.
For the girls there are several benefits. First, we are able to talk about and work through some very important social/emotional topics. Our girls who have historically had behavior issues are starting to show some improvement. They are learning how to deal with the girl drama that happens at school and the number of instances they are involved in (or started) has decreased. We also have some very shy girls who have never really opened up or developed meaningful relationships with peers. They have come out of their shell through Girls on the Run and are starting to develop friendships. Girls on the Run has provided our girls with an opportunity to increase their physical activity and information about nutrition to help them make better decisions when eating. The staff is also benefiting from the extra physical activity and time outdoors!
Coach Sara from Sigel Elementary: I like Girls on the Run at Sigel because it enables us to mentor girls in healthy life style habits. It also gives girls across grade levels a means to bond with one another and share in a positive experience. I also like that it is a safe place for our students after school.
Coach Kimberly from Adams Elementary: Some of my favorite things about having Girls on the Run is being able to interact with the girls outside of a school environment. Even though we are only in our 3rd week GOTR has already given me the opportunity to develop a more personal relationship with each of the girls. I also love hearing and seeing the girls get so excited about the program, I can already see how much of an impact it is having on each and every girl in the program.
Do you like coaching so far and if so, why?
Coach Sara from Sigel Elementary: I love coaching. One of my favorite things is that it challenges me to do things I might not otherwise have the opportunity to do- like spend time taking care of myself.
Coach Kimberly from Adams Elementary: My favorite thing about being a coach is being able to get to know the girls on a more personal level. As a coach, I get to bond with each of the girls on a level that I don’t get a chance to during school hours. GOTR allows the girls to share the highs and lows of their days and to discuss any concerns or accomplishments in a safe space. That is an amazing feeling!
Coach Jessica from Sigel Elementary: YES. I enjoy guiding the girls on their journey to create strong bodies, spirits and minds. I like spending time with my students and co-workers after work. We have a lot of fun at our practices. I am excited for the race at the end of the season.
Coach Lindsay from Adams Elementary: I love coaching for many reasons. Most importantly though, I love the opportunity to build relationships with kids and share my love for physical fitness with them. I played team sports my entire life and continue to coach, so I find great value in sports and team activities. I am excited to provide this opportunity for our girls, because many would not have it without Girls on the Run.
For a school that is thinking about starting Girls on the Run, what are some pieces of advice you have for them?
Coach Lindsay from Adams Elementary: Do it! The work we put in is totally worth the benefits we are seeing. We are even benefiting as coaches because we are running. As a new team, I think it has helped that we have several staff members engaged and participating in every practice. More hands equals lighter work!
Coach Jessica from Sigel Elementary: Make sure that you promote the program in many way and many times. Contacting parents could also be helpful. We had a hard time getting enough girls to start this year because the program is new at our school. We constantly promoted the program until we had enough girls. We went around to classrooms several times telling the girls about the program and gave out flyers. Next year I think I will call parents individually to get more girls on the team. We have many girls that did not sign up in time that want to be on the team so next year I will make sure to call their parents and give them instructions so they can make sure to sign up by the final date.
Coach Kimberly from Adams Elementary: DO IT!! GOTR is a program that any school with girls can and will benefit from. I recommend not only building a relationship with your girls, but also with your fellow coaches. I think that having such a close knit coaching staff has really helped us be successful. I can honestly say that we all put 100% into the program and are there for each other whenever we need help. For example, if one coach has had a long week and wasn’t able to review their portion of a lesson another coach is always willing to cover them. Team work has definitely made the dream work.
We are so grateful for the incredible coaches at Adams and Sigel Elementary for taking the time to answer a few questions and for having a wannabe 3rd grader (myself) attend practice! For more information on starting a site, please visit our website here for an overview of the requirements for starting a new site: https://girlsontherunstlouis.org/get-involved/start-site or feel free to give our office a call at 314-862-6266.