What is Girls on the Run-Maine? | Community Spirit

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What is Girls on the Run-Maine?
What is Girls on the Run-Maine?

When I first learned about Girls on the Run, I thought, “I wish I could have done a program like that when I was young!”  Now, I realize that many of us have that same reaction.

Whether you were the girl who wasn’t popular or wasn’t athletic, or maybe your parents were divorcing or you did unsafe things to please your friends.  Either way, Girls on the Run strikes a chord.  Through the program, girls, coaches and parents learn that, we all have inner strength and beauty.  Each of us can (still!) access our limitless potential.

I was a juvenile defender, a teen mentor and a women’s running coach.  I am also a life-long runner and mom to four young children.  Each experience has reinforced my belief in the transformative qualities of exercise and role modeling.   

When I learned about Girls on the Run three years ago, Maine didn’t have a program.  I knew I had to change that.  Now, I am so excited to tell Maine girls --we have a program for YOU!  

Our 10 week after school program encourages 3rd-5th grade girls to develop self respect and healthy lifestyles through running.   Studies show that girls’ self-esteem begins to steadily decline as early as eleven.  However, adolescent girls who engage in physical activity are at a lower risk of developing physical and emotional disorders.  

GOTR-ME uses the Girls on the Run, International copyrighted curriculum.  This curriculum empowers girls, through playing interactive games and movement, to have a greater sense of self, achievement, team building and community service.

At the end of the season, the girls complete a celebratory 5k event with a “Running Buddy”--someone chosen to run with and support the girl’s final journey in becoming a “Girl on the Run!”  

Where are the Sites and What’s Next?

Before becoming a Council, we developed a five year strategic plan by talking to stakeholders about where to launch in Southern Maine.   

The response was overwhelming.  School administrators, parents, teachers, and the running community showed a huge outpouring of support and excitement.  Initially, we were not going to launch until the spring of 2013, however, in response to this demand, we bumped up our roll out.  We’re thrilled to announce the Longfellow School in Portland as our first site this fall and, next spring, we will expand throughout Cumberland County.  
We hope to slowly fan out to other towns, with the goal of eventually reaching all areas of the state of Maine. 

Before we can do that, however, we need to raise scholarship monies and ensure programmatic support for our amazing volunteer coaches.  Check the GOTR-ME website, www.girlsontherunmaine.org, for how to start a site or how to become a coach, or come to our "Friends Information Session" on September 25 at 6:30 at the Wellness Solution in Falmouth to learn more!

Finally, on October 21, GOTR-ME will sponsor a “Hot ChocoTrot,” a family festival and fun run through Deering Oaks in Portland.   Come join us for this fun-filled, non-competitive race that will celebrate community and spirit!
 

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