The Watertown Intermediate School recently added Girls on the Run to their list of school activities. Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum, which creatively integrates running. This program is a nation-wide non-profit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.
The program in Watertown specifically involved a group of 19 5th grade girls ages 10-11 led by a group of 6 women from the community. Meeting twice a week for 10 weeks, the girls were given great opportunities to build relationships with their coaches and peers.
Each week focused on one of the following themes: empowerment, Responsibility, Intentionality, Diversity, Connectedness, Joy, Optimism, Gratitude, Nurturing, Healthy, Open-hearted, and Compassion. The themes are then used to create a warm-up, lesson, activity, and motivation for that session. All of these themes fall under one main goal of the program: self-confidence.
The girls would spend a large portion of the sessions learning to run a 5K by running laps around the school. For each lap they ran throughout the 10 weeks, they were given a bead. At the send off session, the girls were given a bag with all of the beads they had earned and string to make jewelry that represented their accomplishments. In addition to jewelry making, the girls were each given an award unique to them in celebration of their individuality.
At the end of the 10 week program, the Watertown coaches held a local 5K for the girls to show off their progress. Families, teachers, and peers came to the event to cheer on the girls. In addition to the local 5K, the girls were invited to attend the state-wide Girls on the Run 5K in Sioux Falls. However, the state-wide 5K was cancelled due to poor weather conditions.
Girls on the Run-Watertown plans to continue this program in the coming school year, however, they are unsure of age groups and session dates at this time. To learn more about this program you can contact Michelle Achterberg at email@example.com. This is an awesome program to encourage wellness and fitness along with self confidence and individuality! Thank you Michelle, Jill Makepeace, Paula Nurnberg, Erika Zink, Jennifer McElroy, Dr.Sarah Reiffenberger, and many others for getting this program up and running and inspiring these young women! You rock!!
-Written by Kala Nurberg, SDSU Dietetics Student
-Kelsey Raml, MS, RD, LN