My name is Madison, but the girls on my team call me Coach Madison. In addition to being a full-time psychology student, I joined the Girls on the Run of Northern Arizona at the beginning of the Fall 2022 Season as a volunteer coach and intern.
Words can not express how meaningful this experience has been, but they can try.
Being a part of a program like the Girls on the Run is unlike any other experience I have had. As a first time coach, I have been able to deliver lessons about confidence and character-building to a group of impressionable young girls. Along with the mission statement of uplifting all girls, the lessons are uniquely integrated with running and physical activity to promote healthy minds and healthy bodies. I had never heard of a program that blends these aspects before. I knew this was someplace special from the start.
Girls on the Run prepares young girls with social, emotional, and physical skills that will benefit themthroughout their lifetime. Over the course of ten weeks, I have watched my girls internalize lessons about empathy, friendship, and self-empowerment. The team of shy, reserved girls that I met on day one have transformed into a lively group of self-assured young girls.
Making the time for practice during a busy college semester was a challenge, but it was worth every minute. Teaching this curriculum to my team of 3rd -5th grade girls has been as much of a learning experience for me as it was for them. The impact was multidirectional! Each girl on my team has inspired me in new ways: to be more thoughtful, to be more compassionate, and to work harder!
I know for a fact that the impact of Girls on the Run extends outside of practice and school, and stays with girls at home. At our end of season 5k celebration, a mother from my team shared how her daughter has grown into a much more confident person. Another parent shared that both of her daughter’s talked excitedly about me at home, often! Needless to say, I was quite emotional. These girls changed my life in many beautiful ways, and for that I am thankful.
I also had the incredible opportunity to run with one of my girls during the end of season 5k! Being Running Buddies with Callyncia was the highlight of my semester, I could not be more proud of her!
Perhaps the most compelling reason to become involved with Girls on the Run, is to have the opportunity to say to a young girl what YOU would have wanted to hear at that age. Growing up as a girl is challenging: having to balance the world’s expectations and demands. Girls on the Run provides girls with resilience and strength in the face of adversity. We teach girls that they are enough, just the way they are.
I am so grateful to have been involved with this organization. I feel a great sense of fulfillment and joy knowing that the lessons that I facilitated will stick with my girls in a meaningful way. Girls on the Run is causing beautiful, lasting change, one girl at a time.
Thank you Girls on the Run, for helping me find my Star Power, and helping hundreds of other girls do the same.