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FRIDAY FOCUS - Girls on the Run Southern Maryland


Confidence. Joyful. Meaningful. These are just some of the words used to describe the focus of Girls on the Run Southern Maryland. Girls on the Run provides young girls a positive development program designed to enhance their social, psychological and physical skills. The girls work hard all year to prepare for their main event - a 5k, including music, dancing, activities and of course running. Support Girls on the Run Southern Maryland by learning more about them from Jill Tennyson, Executive Director, in this week’s Friday Focus.
 
Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)
Girls on the Run inspires girls, grades 3rd – 8th, to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum, which creatively integrates running. Girls on the Run is a physical activity–based positive youth development (PYD) program designed to enhance girls’ social, psychological and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences. The program’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing core values, including competence, confidence, connection, character, caring and contribution through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities. Girls learn critical life skills such as how to manage emotions, help others, make intentional decisions and resolve conflict that they can then use at home, at school and with friends. The program inspires girls to build lives of purpose and to make a meaningful contribution to community and society. This spirit of giving manifests through a key element of the curricula, when each team creates and executes a community service project. And the season concludes with a celebratory 5K event. Completing the 5K gives the girls a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals.
 
Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?
It is difficult to choose a single moment, but I think the celebratory 5K is my favorite experience within the program. After 10 weeks of preparation, girls from both Charles and St. Mary’s Counties come together and complete a 5K. The event features music, dancing, activities and pink everywhere! Many of the girls have never participated in an event like this and at the beginning of the season, some doubt that they can even complete such a race. However, the girls work hard and push themselves to complete this self-determined goal. The smiles are contagious, and it makes all the hard work behind the scenes worth it!
 
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge is educating the community about our organization. Although Girls on the Run has been around for many years, Girls on the Run Southern Maryland has only been serving Charles and St. Mary’s counties for the past year. Many people love our mission and what we are doing, but don’t see how they can help. You do NOT need to be a runner! All you need is to have a passion for helping girls be joyful in everything they do, be healthy physical and emotionally, and be confident in who they are!
 
Q: Are there any upcoming events?
Our Fall season starts September 10th at four sites. Girls in the program will then start preparing for our 5K, which will be held on November 17th at Blue Crabs Stadium in Waldorf, MD. This event is a noncompetitive, family friendly event that is open to the public. Registration starts on August 24th and you can register on our website: https://www.raceplanner.com/register/index/girls-on-the-run-southern-maryland-fall-2018-5-k
 
Q: How can people get involved with your organization?
People can get involved in many ways and at a variety of commitment levels. The easiest is to come out on November 17th and support the girls that have worked so hard throughout the season! You can participate in the event or register to volunteer. For individuals who would like to take a greater role, we are always looking for board members and volunteer coaches. Finally, we are always appreciative of financial support because one of our core beliefs is that we never turn away a girl based on their inability to pay for our program.