Society tells girls to look, dress, act, and think in a certain way. Your current pop-culture “role models” seem to insinuate girls should wear less, talk less, think less…be less. Girls grow up basing their self worth on how many likes their selfie gets, they want to be Instagram models. What we should be doing is encouraging our girls to learn, explore, be inquisitive, and passionate. To have goals, to stand up for what they believe in, and to be supportive of each other.
I volunteer for an organization called Girls on the Run at the Dover YMCA. It’s a great program, designed to encourage our girls to be healthy, happy, and confident, using group lessons and physical activity. We meet twice a week, start with an interactive lesson and then go for a run, building on the distance each time. Each season caps off with a 5k for all of the Girls on the Run teams. I enjoy being a coach. I look forward to meeting the girls each season, getting to know them, and seeing them grow throughout the short season.
I have two main goals as a coach: to help each girl see their importance and potential and to, hopefully, inspire girls to be confident individuals. Though we start each practice with a short lesson-focused warm up, it’s during the actual running that gives you a lot of insight into their personality and what’s happening in their life. We run, we push ourselves. We create goals and reach them, and on some days, we crush them. Some days we fall short, and all we could do was run our best, but it’s a good reminder that sometimes showing up is half the battle.
I encourage you to encourage the girls in your life. What a difference I can see just a few weeks into our Fall season. We received an email from one of the mom’s that said “I wanted to thank you for the encouragement and praise you’ve given (name retracted for privacy). It has really helped her confidence. She loves all the coaches and I love that you are all awesome women role models for her.”
I’m looking forward to another inspiring season with Girls on the Run and to seeing the girls faces when they find out how far they’ve come from when they first started. Which is why I also encourage you to get involved. Find something you’re interested in and find a way to contribute to it. Cheers!