Saturday was the Girls on the Run 5k and I had the pleasure of running it with three 6th local 6th grade girls. It was hot, and the course ran through the parking lot of Garmin, so little shade and sweltering pavement. But I had fun and more importantly, the girls had fun.
GOTR is an organization for 3rd-8th grade girls. They meet twice a week for 12 weeks and learn about diet, exercise, making healthy decisions, and having healthy self-esteem. The lessons cover bullying, media pressures, and help the girls train to run a 5k. The whole goal of the program is to help pre-teen girls learn to make healthy decisions, have positive self esteem, recognize negative influences, and have active and healthy female role models, all before they reach high school. I think it's an awesome program and I wish there had been something like it when I was a kid.
I volunteered as a running buddy. I was teamed up with three girls who I met a few weeks ago. We ran a practice 5k at their school and I made it to a few other sessions to get to know the girls more.
One of the sessions really left an impression on me. They were discussing advertising and how it can be misleading and things like air brushing and photo shop. When asked what they thought about an ad for prom dresses, I was really surprised at their answers. The coach asked them what they thought and how the ad made them feel. The girls said things like "Why would you want to wear a dress that short? You couldn't even dance in it" and "She looks really uncomfortable in those shoes" and my internal teenage was saying "Why aren't my legs that thin?" It was just amazing that these girls haven't felt the pressure to look like the girls in the magazines.
But that's the whole point - reach these girls so the learn early on that they DON'T have to be stick thin to be beautiful and their self-worth is NOT tied to the number on the scale. This is definitely a group I will volunteer with again.
4 days ago