Jody has been an avid runner since high school and has completed three half marathons–the most recent being the St. Louis Rock n Roll half which in her words was “a blast.” She has a supportive husband and two daughters (14 & 12) who are also very athletic. Her younger daughter has participated in Girls on the Run twice and Girls on Track this past fall.
Jody started coaching at Ridge Meadows Elementary in 2010 and has since brought the middle school program (Girls on Track) to LaSalle Springs Middle. She hopes to stay actively involved with Girls on the Run in some type of capacity for a long, long time and encourages others to do the same.
Read what else Jody had to say about Girls on the Run.
When did you first get involved with Girls on the Run?
I first became interested in the spring of 2010. I was trained as a coach over the summer and my passion began with the first team I coached in the fall of 2010. Why? I was interested in finding another athletic outlet for my 5th grade daughter and had heard about the program through a friend. I had no idea at the time the impact this program would have on the girls as well as the coaches.
What is the most rewarding thing about Girls on the Run that both you’ve experienced and that you’ve seen for the girls you’ve coached?
One of the most rewarding things about coaching Girls on the Run (and now Girls on Track) is the unconditional love you receive from the girls. You go out there every practice and try to make it fun, enjoyable, and teach them a few things along the way and they ABSOLUTELY love you. I heard on so many occasions from the girls that they were sad when the program was ending because they enjoyed coming so much! It was hard to end practices because they all just wanted to keep on going. I also loved seeing the girls’ progress from nonrunners or occasional runners to runners and competitive runners.
Why would you recommend others get involved as a volunteer for Girls on the Run OR why would you recommend a girl participate in Girls on the Run?
I would recommend volunteering for Girls on the Run because of the positive impact that we can make on these young girls. Unfortunately, there are so many negative influences in the world and school can be tough, but Girls on the Run teaches you that it’s okay to be yourself; it teaches you to go for it and be proud of who you are and to always make a positive impact on others. For all the girls out there who are on the fence about participating I can say without a doubt it will be the best thing you can do for yourself. It’s a great way to be active, to meet new friends, to learn how to be happy with yourself and most importantly to have FUN!
What are your hopes for the future of Girls on the Run as an organization or at your school?
Since I have now coached not only two Girls on the Run teams, but also brought it to the next level and coached a brand new Girls on Track team. My hopes are that this program can be available in all schools throughout the country. There is no better way to promote healthy activity and positive behavior and energy than through this fantastic program. It takes just a small amount of time to make such a positive impact on young girls. I truly believe that the girls who have completed this program will have many benefits throughout their school years and in life through the lessons they learned.
What’s your favorite Girls on the Run cheer?
There are so many I love, but a favorite always seems to be the Shopping Cart cheer.