The curriculum was designed to highlight three important areas: Individual Values, Team Building, and Community.
Individual Values is centered upon the girls getting to know themselves by examining their opinions, their likes and dislikes, and who they envision themselves to be.
Team Building concentrates on the skills needed to become good team members, such as being supportive, learning to listen and cooperate, and how to being assertive relates to the world at large.
Community relates to the world at large. This includes making a contribution to your world (family, school, etc.) and also examining the negative messages we can receive from the world (media awareness, negative peer pressure, etc.)
Each season our teams participate in a group community project and collect supplies for the Harbor Humane Society. The girls are able to see how their individual efforts can have a big impact. This season our teams donated over $2000 worth of supplies to the Humane Society and made hundreds of inspirational “thank you” cards for the dedicated employees and volunteers.
The complete curriculum covers 24 lessons over a twelve week period. Each team meeting is focused on a theme for that day’s lesson, and follows the same five step pattern.
Introduction/Getting on Board: As the girls arrive and settle into a circle, the coach “checks in” with them, seeing how each is feeling, getting a feel for the group’s dynamic for the day and introducing the topic of the lesson.
The Warm Up: The warm-up is brief activity or game that energizes the girls and warms up their muscles. The Warm Up activity is usually a short interactive running game that incorporates the lesson topic for that day. For instance, in one of the first lessons, the coach marks off a short running course. The girls stand at one spot and the coach calls out a “like statement” – “I like chocolate chip cookies,” or “I like to be a Girl on the Run.” All those girls who agree with the statement run (walk, jog – they set their own paces) the course marked out by the coach. These statements continue, with contributions by the girls, until everyone has run a few times.
Processing: With their muscles warmed up a bit, the coach leads the girls through a brief stretching session. During that time, the girls and the coach “process” the topic. In this example, they might discuss how people can have different likes and dislikes and still be friends, or how our likes and dislikes develop, etc.
The Workout: The workout follows the warm up/stretch. This involves more actual running. The amount of running varies based on each girl’s ability, pace, and her stage of the process. The program starts with shorter periods of running and builds up as the coaches assess each girl’s ability and pace. Eventually, the Workout will build up to a “practice” 5k on site, which helps give the girls confidence in their ability to participate in and finish the culminating 5k event. The running also involves the “topic of the day.” For instance, in the session on positive attitude, each girl may be asked to make a positive statement about herself to the coach each time she completes a lap.
The Wrap-Up: Following the workout is a cool-down and stretching period where the girls do a group processing and discussion. Each session ends with positive reinforcement from the coach and a group cheer.