Girls on the Run FAQs

What does Girls on the Run do?

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One girl put it this way, “I learned that I am the boss of my brain.” Helping girls take charge of their lives and define the future on their terms. You can also think of it as Can University—a place where girls learn that they can. No limits. No constraints. Only opportunities to be remarkable.

How do we play a role in our girls’ lives?

Lots of ways, but we start with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them. Then we look at the role of teams and healthy relationships. And, finally, we explore how girls can positively connect with and shape the world. And remember, we believe that life-changing experiences can be fun too—for everyone—the girls, coaches, families and other volunteers. So don’t be surprised when you hear laughter along with self-reflection and see beaming smiles across the beautiful, confident faces of our girls.

Whom does the program serve?

In 2015 our Council served over 85 girls in the Rio Grande Valley. The Girls on the Run program is for girls is grades 3rd-5th. The Heart and Sole program is for girls in grades 6th-8th.

When does the program meet?

We offer a Fall and a Spring season. The Fall season runs from the first week in September through late November. The Spring season runs from mid-January through the end of April. Teams meet twice a week for 10 weeks and each session is 90 minutes.

Can you describe a typical session?

Each session focuses on a specific issue-related topic, which is incorporated into the activities and games planned for the lesson. The coaches begin the lesson by introducing and explaining the day’s topic. The girls then warm up their muscles with a brief interactive running activity or game. Then, the girls stretch and further discuss how the activity related to the topic. Next, the girls perform the workout, which primarily consists of running laps but also integrates the topic of the day. For example, the girls may have to answer questions about the day’s topic each time they complete a lap. The lesson ends with stretching, reviewing what the girls learned that day, and a group cheer.

Can my daughter repeat the program?

Yes! Our curricula was designed to be used over and over again, with girls new to the program and with girls repeating the program. We also know that what a child experiences and learns in Girls on the Run as a third grader is quite different from what she learns as a fourth or fifth grader. With repetition the depths of learning and the ability of a girl to apply what she learns at each lesson is greater. The curricula are designed to be used repeatedly. Children learn from repetition, and lessons repeated sink deeper and have more lasting effects than one-time experiences. Despite the popular cultural demand for novelty, to really convey a concept to a child, it helps to give them a chance to do it more than once. With each repetition, the level of learning increases.

Why the young age?

Studies show that girls between the ages of eight and fourteen are still receptive to adult influence, while beginning to feel peer pressure. It’s an age psychologists call the latency period of development when girls begin to confront important life and relationship issues. As a prevention program, Girls on the Run initiates healthy decision-making about difficult issues and really talking to their parents/caretakers before it’s too late. In addition, learning healthy exercise habits early in life increases the chances that participants will value their own physical fitness as adults. Recent studies show that only those who develop exercise habits in their teen years or earlier are likely to maintain those habits for life. It’s well documented that regular, moderate exercise improves cardiovascular functioning, and reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, osteoporosis (brittle bones), and obesity. In addition, girls of this age are more open to the positive peer influences, positive adult role models and the confidence enhancing which are all parts of the GOTR experience.

Is it safe for young girls to run the 5K (3.1 mile) distance?

“Children’s bodies are well suited for endurance exercise, and numerous studies have shown that children show many positive physiological adaptation to endurance exercise training. The keys are gradual progression and common-sense adult supervision. If those conditions are met, running 3 miles is a reasonable goal for most young people, ” says Russell R. Pate, Ph.D., with the Department of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina. The girls are not pressured to run, rather they are encouraged to run or walk according to their current level of fitness with emphasis on improving endurance.

Do girls have to be runners?

No! Girls on the Run is for EVERYONE – even those who don’t like to run. The program is non-competitive and focuses on developing healthy, positive self-images in the participants. Girls are encouraged to walk or run the laps during the workouts, and all girls progress at their own speed.

Who delivers the program?

Each session is led by trained coaches that volunteer their time to guide and mentor girls through a fun and uplifting program. Coaches are trained in the GOTR curriculum, undergo a background check, and Head Coaches are CPR certified. All Head Coaches must be female. Assistant coaches can be male.

How much does the program cost?

The current program fee in $150. Scholarships are available for qualifying families.

What does the program fee include?

The program fee for participation on a Girls on the Run RGV team is $150 for the 10 week season.

Our direct program costs include items given to every girl and every team:
20 curriculum based lessons offered 2 x per week for 10 weeks by GOTR trained coaches

  • Program t-shirt
  • Completion medal
  • 5k entry fee and race bib
  • Copies of our curriculum and activity sheets for every team
  • A box of supplies for every team – such as stickers, lap counters, posterboard, markers and other practice supplies.

The fee also covers council fees such as: liability insurance, background checks for all coaches and volunteers, website and online registration fees, 5k expenses and our GOTRI renewal membership fee which allows us to operate as a council.

Participants can apply for scholarships, which are awarded on a needs basis, case by case, as funds permit.

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