Girls on the Run Coastal Georgia and Lowcountry Gears Up for 5K

Girls on the Run Coastal Georgia and Lowcountry is gearing up for the 12th Annual 5K, celebrating the end of the Spring Season.  The event will be held on the campus of Savannah State University on Saturday, April 28.  Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. and the run/walk starts at 9:00 a.m.  The fee is $25 and includes a t-shirt.  Registration available online at www.gotrcoastalgeorgialowcountry.org and the public is invited to run or walk.

Discount codes are available online for family members who wish to walk or run with their girl.  Medals will be awarded to Girl on the Run Team Members, as well as the siblings of the girls.

The Girls on the Run Pop Up Shop will feature attire with empowering messages and GOTR gear and accessories.  The Kid Zone features Happy Hair Stations, games, food, drinks and family fun.

The 5K is the celebratory event marking the end of the 504-girl strong Spring Season. The girls are from 33 different sites in Chatham, Bryan, Effingham, Liberty and Beaufort Counties.   The event enables the girls to experience the joy of athletic accomplishment and serves to give them a sense of community with Girl on the Run Teams from around the region.  The program is for all girls and serves kids in public and private schools and from all walks of life.

Girls on the Run warmly welcomes walkers and runners from the community.

Major sponsors include Brasseler, USA, CPPI of Georgia and WTOC.

The Savannah Council has been serving Chatham, Bryan, Effingham and Liberty Counties since 2006 and recently merged with the Lowcountry Council, which has served girls for 5 years.  The Coastal Georgia program started with 30 girls in 4 sites.   In 2017, the Coastal Georgia and Lowcountry Council served over 1200 girls in 66 sites.

Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based, positive youth development program that teaches key life skills to girls in 3rd through 8th grade through dynamic discussions and fun games that creatively integrate running.  Girls on the Run is for elementary school girls and Heart & Sole is designed for middle school girls.

Running is used as a vehicle to influence positive social, cognitive, physical, emotional and psychological assets and development.  The program meets after school, twice a week, for 10 weeks, for a total of 30 hours of programming.    The program’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing competence, confidence, connection, character, caring and contribution in young girls through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities.

Finishing the 5K builds confidence and the girls get a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals.

Each curriculum is divided into three parts:

  • Understanding themselves and setting personal goals
  • Learning skills to foster leadership, team building and cooperation
  • Examining their relationship to the community, including development and implementation of a community service project

The life skills curriculum is delivered by caring and qualified coaches who are highly trained to implement the lessons.  Such life skills will prevent risky and unhealthy behaviors such as physical inactivity and negative body image and promotes good physical, mental, social and spiritual health.

Toward the end of the program, the girls learn about the concept of community and the role they all play as part of the community.  The girls agree upon and design a community service project.   One group of girls collected supplies and toiletries for homeless youth.  Another group purchased blankets and took them to a senior center where the girls presented the blankets as gifts and read their favorite books to the seniors.

According to Selina Ruth Gillans, Principal of Brock Elementary and mother of a Girls on the Run participant, “Girls on the Run has had a very positive impact on our school community.  The girls strive for a healthy lifestyle and that has a connection to academics and accountability for themselves.  The program helps the girls develop social skills, problem solving, planning and research skills.”

There is strong evidence from an independent study conducted by Dr. Maureen Weiss, Ph.D, University of Minnesota, showing that the program is effective in driving transformative change in the lives of young girls.

According to Suzanne Moseley, Girls on the Run Board Chairman, “Girls on the Run is important because girls’ self-confidence begins to drop by age 9.  Over 50% of girls age 10-13 experience bullying such as name calling and exclusion at a time when peer relationships become more central to girls’ lives.  Physical activity levels decline starting at age 10 and continue to decrease throughout adolescence.  Our program addresses these issues and more.”

The cost of the program is $175 per girl and includes all program supplies and materials, snacks, 5K medal and t-shirt.  Scholarships are available and no girl has ever been turned away due to inability to pay.  Approximately 60% of program participants are on financial aid.  The scholarships are underwritten by individuals, businesses, organizations and grants.  Shoes for girls who can’t afford them are provided by National Girls on the Run Partner, Asics.

For the first time, Girls on the Run will also be offering week-long Summer Day Camps.  Camp GOTR: Girls Have Heart, for rising 3rd – 5th grade girls. The girls will have fun exploring friendships with activities designed to discover what makes a good friend and how to be a good friend to others. Girls will move, build, create, write, discuss, connect and laugh all while participating in games and activities that leave them feeling confident and appreciated by their teammates.

The camps, which will be held at various sites, will run Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  The fees range from $100 – $125 per girls and includes all materials and supplies, snacks, Camp GOTR t-shirt and journal.  Registration for camps is available online at www.gotrcoastalgeorgialowcountry.org.

Girls on the Run has served over 1.2 million girls since its inception in 1996.

For information on Girls on the Run Fall 2018 Season or Summer Day Camp, or for more information on becoming a Coach or volunteering for Girls on the Run, contact Maria Center at maria.center@girlsontherun.org or 912-349-1528.