Girls on the Run combines exercise and motivation

Published 5:54 pm Wednesday, January 6, 2016

While the benefits of today’s interconnected digital world are numerous, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to close the lid on the laptop, power off the cellphone and get some good old-fashioned fresh air and exercise.

Children, in particular, could benefit from less time with a screen in front their face and more time with the pavement beneath their feet.

Through the Girls on the Run program, pre-adolescent girls living in the U.S. and Canada are given a chance to do just that — and so much more.

Girls on the Run of Berrien County is currently seeking volunteers to help with programming for 2016. Volunteers will work with girls in the third through eighth grades during a 10-week course that combines physical training with motivational lessons.

Run through the United Way of Southwest Michigan, the Berrien County Girls on the Run program is offered at more than 30 schools across the county, including Niles and Buchanan. It is part of the larger Girls of the Run program, a nonprofit that 168,000 girls in more than 225 cities across North America each year, according to the organization website.

The 20 lesson Girls on the Run curriculum provides both training for a 5K (3.1 miles) running event with lessons that inspire girls to become independent thinkers, enhance their problem solving skills and make healthy decisions.

We support the ongoing efforts of the local Girls of the Run program, which not only gives an outlet for girls to get some exercise but also to help develop life skills which no doubt benefit them as they grow into adulthood.

A major accomplishment for anyone, regardless of age, the process of training, running and finishing a 5K race helps instill participating girls with motivation and pride that can’t easily be replicated, especially through the computer displays that many children seem to be glued to these days. There’s no greater accomplishment as a teacher or coach than teaching someone that, no matter the challenge, they can achieve anything as long as they work hard enough for it.

We encourage our readers to get their young daughters involved in this program, or to even volunteer to help if they have the time.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.