Girls on the Run program to begin in Marquette

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Sault Ste. Marie – Girls on the Run Upper Peninsula will be offering its program, for the first time, in Marquette beginning this spring.

Girls on the Run is an evidence based physical activity positive youth development program for preadolescence girls, 3rd to 8th grade, Executive Director Cindy Merkel explained. Designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength, the Girls on the Run curriculum inspires girls to define their lives on their own terms.

“It’s an after school program like no other,” Merkel stated.

The ten week program weaves physical activity with positive emotional and social development to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health.

“The mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident. We envision a world,” Merkel continued, “where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly purse her dreams.”

During the ten week program, the girls meet twice weekly. Guided by nationally certified volunteer coaches the girls develop important strategies and skills to help them navigate life experiences all the while working towards being able to complete a the season ending 5K (3.1 mile) at their own pace.

Completing the 5K event gives the girls a tangible understanding of the confidence that comes through accomplishment as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals, Merkel said.

“The 5K Celebration is a sight to behold,” she shared, “seeing the smiles on the girls faces as they cross the finish line and the pride of their families never gets old.”

Marquette’s Girls on the Run 5K, a non-competitive event open to the public, will be held on Saturday, June 9th, at a location and time to be announced.

“At Girls on the Run”, Merkel said, “everyone finishes number one.”

Girls on the Run Upper Peninsula, a local council of the national organization, was founded in the Eastern Upper Peninsula in 2007 and has been serving girls there since 2009.

 “Our expansion to Marquette and other Upper Peninsula communities would not be possible without the support of the Superior Health Foundation and the Community Foundation of the Upper Peninsula. Their belief in our mission has become an investment in the future of our Upper Peninsula communities’ preadolescence girls,” Merkel said.

In the Marquette area, the group will partner with Kevin Thomsen and Queen City Running Company in promoting the Girls on the Run program and in recruiting coaches.

We are so excited to support and be a part of the GOTR program! Marquette is the perfect community to be involved!” Thomsen said. 

Coach recruitment is currently underway. For more information about coaching, stop in at Queen City Running Company at 119 West Baraga Ave., or visit the local council’s website, www.gotrmichUP.org/Coach or call Merkel at 906.632.8109. Coaches do not need to be runners.

Once the coaches are in place,  program registration will open up for 3rd to 5th grade girls from the Marquette area. The program will be held at The Superior Dome beginning the week of April 9th with the exact days and times to be determined by the coaches’ availability.

A Girls on the Run team size ranges from 8 to 15 girls with at least three adults coaching. If more than 15 girls register, a lottery will be held to randomly select the 15. The remaining girls will be placed on a waiting list. Daughters of coaches will be guaranteed a spot on the team.

The program fee for Girls on the Run Upper Peninsula is $110 with scholarships up to $100 available based on self-reported household size and income.  No child will be turned away due to financial considerations.

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