Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Girls On The Run Coach - Fall 2013

I started this journey back in September with not a single clue as to what I was doing.  I've never taught or coached especially in this type of environment and I sure as heck have never worked with kids before.  Me?  The person who doesn't even know if they want kids signing up to work with them twice a week?  Trust me, I found it just as crazy.  I had been searching for awhile on a way to give back and when this opportunity came up, I knew it wasn't just a coincidence.

For ten weeks I spent every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon/evening with 6 of the funniest, quirkiest, sweetest, and hard working group of girls.  Of course some days were more challenging others but more often than not we had a lot of fun!  When you work with adults one of the hardest challenges I face is getting people to take "I can't..." out of their vocabulary.  Same goes with kids.  This experience was a huge eye opener to the battles these kiddos face each day with bullying and self esteem.  Sadly the problem starts with the older generations and how so many have adopted the "I believe something different than you, so it's my place to tell you why you're wrong" attitude.  Social media has given too many a huge platform to try and criticize, degrade, and bully each other simply because they don't like something.  The future generations will follow in our footsteps if we as adults can't get back to following the golden rule.  But I digress, that's a post for another day.... 

Ten weeks ago a few of the girls didn't think they could do it, or didn't think they could keep up with some of the faster girls.  Every class I emphasized it's not about being the fastest it's just about getting out there and doing it, and leaving it all out there when you're done.  Not every class was just about running.  Each class we talked about important topics such as bullying, being thankful, giving back to our community, working as a team and how to be leaders and good friends.  We also introduced creative ways to strengthen their little legs, like doing frog hop races across the the gym floor:


One of my favorite classes was about three weeks ago when one of my girls who was a big "I can't..." personality, ran up to me (in a dead sprint) and said "Coach Lindsay I'm getting faster, I can really tell!"  More than just the "getting fast" part, she had confidence in her that I hadn't seen all season and became a leader of the group.  Mission accomplished.

Our last class we spent doing a project as a way to say thanks to the recreation center that so kindly donated their facility space for us to use during our program.  We invaded the Joe Farmer Recreation Center for 10 weeks, so we wanted to say thanks!  The girls made a gingerbread house complete with every kind of candy one could think of, and I'm pretty sure they ate two pieces for every one they put on.


Thank you to the staff at Joe Farmer, y'all are awesome!


This past Saturday was our big event at the Gobble Hobble 5K.  Hundreds of Girls On The Run kids and coaches who have worked so hard over the last 10 weeks came together to have some fun!  While the race was freezing, drizzling, and windy we all had smiles on our faces and made the most of it!  All of the girls were required to have a buddy with them for both safety reasons and to encourage them along the way.  Brandon actually got called in to run with the speedster of the group!  I hung back and ran with one of my girls and I'm so glad I got to.  We had a good talk :)
 
Our crew.
Finishing the race!  She surprised me at the end and took off on a dead sprint to finish line.  Finish strong!
I am so so so proud of these young ladies.  Everyone finished the race and finished it with a smile!  While the program isn't about being the fastest runner, I do have to brag that one finished FIRST in her age division, and the other came in ninth in her age division.  Woot woot! 

I am forever grateful for this experience and all it has taught me.  Girls On The Run took me WAY outside of my comfort zone and I am so thankful it did.  Thank you girls for everything you've taught me over the last ten weeks.  Running changed my life a few years ago and I hope that they took something away from this that will change theirs as well.  I look forward to another season!

All of the DFW Chapters of GOTR

If you have a Girls On The Run program in your area I high recommend you check it out.  Of course your kids can participate but volunteer coaches are always in need.