There was a tiny, wooden box covered with different colors of paper machete in my room for years. Each year as I changed the decorations in my room to match whatever style I was most into at the time, that tiny box stayed. In that colorful box were notes of encouragement that my peers and coaches had written to me during my time in Girls on the Run. I remember looking back over them in times of disappointment or questioning, feeling assured that there were and still are people out there cheering me on, whether on the running course or in life. Those notes, my team, and my coaches impacted my life far longer than I could have imagined.
I participated in Girls on the Run during the fall and spring of 2010. Now, I am the Marketing and Outreach intern for Girls on the Run. Full circle moment, I know. There’s so much I didn’t know back then. I didn’t realize just how important physical activity is for the mind, and the spirit. I didn’t know that middle school, high school, and college were all experiences that would challenge me and allow me to grow into the woman I am today.
Whether it be when you’re in third grade or going into your senior year of college, like myself, you’re never fully “ready” for what life is about to throw your way. I’m extremely grateful that Girls on the Run helped me build confidence and decision-making skills. I’m thankful for the friendships formed during my time on a team and the small-group conversations surrounding our thoughts and feelings;it made me feel heard and affirmed at such a young age. Girls on the Run gave me a space to emote, connect, and dream and it has been an absolute joy to give back to an organization that gave so much to me! Girls on the Run truly is for every girl, and if you’re a parent reading this, deciding whether or not to sign your child up, know that the things your daughter will learn from their time in GOTR will stick with them forever.