Girls on the Run is a North American non-profit program that works to encourage pre-teen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games, culminating in a celebratory 5K run. The organization’s curricula seek to address all aspects of the girls’ development to enhance their physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual well-being while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.
Over a period of 10 to 12 weeks, girls in the 3rd through 6th grade participate in an after-school program designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength. The Girls on the Run curriculum inspires girls to define their lives on their own terms. Throughout the season, the girls make new friends, build their confidence and celebrate all that makes them unique. Teams meet two days each week.
The Girls on the Run lessons encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development. The Girls on the Run program uses the tenants of sports-based youth development to determine program activities, curricula, staff training, and guiding principles. Participants explore and discuss their own beliefs around experiences and challenges girls face at this age. They also develop strategies and skills to help them navigate life experiences. The program starts with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what is important to them. Then, participants look at the importance of teamwork and healthy relationships. Finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world.
At the end of each three-month session, the girls participate in a Girls on the Run 5K event, which involves other Girls on the Run teams from the community and possibly other councils. This celebratory, non-competitive event is the culminating experience of the curriculum. Coaches, parents, and community members participate, cheer, and celebrate.