Our 10-week character-building program teaches well-defined social and personal skills. The curriculum encompasses the following three concepts:
- Weeks 1 - 4
- All About Me...
Getting to Know Who I Am and What I Stand For
- Weeks 4 - 8
- Building My Team...
Understanding the Importance of Cooperation
- Weeks 8 - 10
- Community Begins with Me...
Learning About Community and Designing Our Own Community Project
Girls on the Run promotes physical, emotional, mental, and character development. The girls complete the program with a stronger sense of identity, a greater acceptance of themselves, a healthier body image, and an understanding of what it means to be part of a team. The participants are tested before and after completion of the program to measure these attitudinal changes. Since the program began, this evaluation, executed by Rita DeBate, PHD, MPH, CHES with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, shows statistically significant improvements in the girls' self esteem, body size satisfaction and eating attitudes/behaviors.
Girls on the Run programs are based on activities with specific functions to enhance the learning process.
Each meeting is structured as follows:
- The session begins with a getting-on-board and warm-up activity that focuses the girls on the day's topic.
- The warm-up is followed by a stretching routine that allows for topic-related questions and answers.
- Then, during the workout period, the girls participate in a variety of running activities that utilize a game or a team goal.
- Afterwards, cool-down stretching is combined with participant asked and answered questions.
- Each session closes with positive words from the girls' coach regarding individual and group behaviors.
The Girls on the Run curriculum has been in use since the fall of 1996. Since that time thousands of girls have been through the program-but what we soon discovered is, they were having so much fun and getting so connected, they wanted something that would carry them through middle school. We originally wanted to call it Girls on the Run for Middle Schoolers. The girls who were participating told us they wanted something they could call their own. Hence the birth of Girls on Track.
The principal philosophies and psychological research for both programs are the same yet the depth of processing the topics varies with the two different curricula. We can go into more targeted and age-appropriate discussion regarding certain topics (eating disorders, tobacco and alcohol use, personal/internet safety and harassment to name a few) with the middle school participants, whereas with the younger girls the discussion remains a bit more vague or may not occur at all. The above outlined concepts and curriculum structure for Girls on the Run remain the same for Girls on Track.