Rachael Snyders is a Girl on the Run, through and through. Rachael first learned about Girls on the Run when she ran with her cousin in the Girls on the Run St. Louis 5k. After a great few races. Rachael was hooked and decided to join the Young Professionals Board, in 2013. Rachael has also found time to coach in the past couple of years, and loves seeing the girls learn and grow throughout the season.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m a St. Louisan through-and-through, and love this city dearly. I live in Creve Coeur with my husband Ben, and our fur baby Lola. I am a registered nurse, and received my Master of Public Health from SLU. I currently work for BJC HealthCare as an Infection Prevention Consultant. My job is great—I have truly awesome colleagues, and the work I do motivates me to create a better healthcare experience for our patients.
I’m a big fan of short distance races (like the Girls on the Run 5K!), and I’m happiest while playing soccer, hiking with Ben and the fur baby, traveling, cooking and trying new foods and restaurants, and drinking my morning coffee.
Why did you choose to volunteer/get involved with GOTR-STL?
I learned about GOTR-STL several years ago, when I was a running buddy for my cousin who participated at her school. We ran several 5Ks together, and I was so disappointed when she aged out of the program. I immediately began looking for other ways to get involved. I became of member of the Young Professional Board in 2013, and have helped coach at two different schools over the past two years—Old Bonhomme Elementary, and most recently at Avery Elementary.
What is the most rewarding thing about Girls on the Run?
I absolutely love seeing the girls open up as the season progresses. Watching them grow into their individual personalities as they gain more self-awareness and self-confidence throughout the season is perhaps even more rewarding than watching them cross the finish line of their first 5K.
How has GOTR-STL impacted your life?
I wish GOTR-STL was around when I was in grade school! This is such an important and formative age for girls, and it’s amazing that they have this opportunity to participate in a confidence-building, team-building, athletic program without necessarily being a star athlete. I have coached girls who ran the 5K in 20 minutes, and have walked with girls who finished in 50 minutes, and the best part is that it doesn’t matter—each girl is successful in her own way. GOTR-STL has taught me the importance of small victories—getting a girl to run one lap without stopping, getting a girl to participate in the processing of the lesson, watching someone receive their first energy award—watching them cross the finish line of the 5K is just an added bonus.
There was one practice this year (Spring 2015) where we decided to have the girls run relay races—watching them hop, skip, and jump their way around the playground was so much fun—some of the coaches couldn’t help but join in! The girls did all the silly exercises we asked them to, they encouraged all of their teammates, and they never quit—even if their group was in last place. I was so proud of them in that moment.
Why would you recommend others get involved with Girls on the Run?
GOTR-STL is successful because of volunteers who generously give their time to the organization, and will continue to be successful because of the all this support. It is incredibly fun and rewarding, and you will meet some amazing people!
What are your hopes for the future of Girls on the Run as an organization?
I hope that GOTR-STL continues to grow, allowing even more girls to participate in the program. It has so much potential to impact the lives of girls and young women at a very formative time in their lives. It teaches them how to be healthy—both inside and out—and I would love to see its impact in more schools and communities.