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Volunteer coaches needed for Girls on the Run spring session

Girls on the Run are looking for a few volunteer coaches to start he season with them April 1, 2024.
Girls on the Run
Girls on the Run are looking for a few volunteer coaches to start he season with them April 1, 2024.

Girls on the Run is a nonprofit organization that provides afterschool character development and empowerment for girls in third through eighth grade. Volunteer coaches are needed at a couple of schools this spring.

Girls on the Run serves girls in both Summit and Wasatch counties. Five schools participate in the Park City Area: McPolin, Jeremy Ranch and Trailside elementary schools as well as Ecker Hill Middle School and Weilenmann.

In Wasatch County, the program runs out of the Soldier Hollow Charter School. Next year, program director Ivy Denihan says they hope to offer a program at Midway elementary as well.

Volunteer coaches are still needed at McPolin, which meets for eight weeks on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and at Jeremy Ranch which meets Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

Denihan says the program isn’t as much about running as it is building confidence and inclusivity.

“What's so great about our program is that it is so inclusive of girls of all abilities like athletic abilities; they do not have to be runners to do the program,” Denihan said. “But we're going to just take it easy with the writing at the beginning of the season. But it does increase throughout the eight weeks. And it’s just teaching them no matter what their background is, where they're from, what their athletic ability is, that they can set this goal of finishing a 5K and doing it confidently.”

Junior coaches can be as young as 14, or at least 18 to coach the older girls. The only requirement is a willingness to support and encourage the participants. Denihan says the organization provides all the tools and training – they just need women who are committed and will show up.

“You also do not have to be a runner; you just have to have that motivation internally, to want to empower girls to believe in themselves to find their voice,” she said. “And you'll be leading out of a nationally recognized youth development curriculum with two to three other coaches, so you won't be alone. And the curriculum is extremely straightforward, you know, very easy to lead and understand.”

A required in-person training session is set for Saturday, March 16, in Salt Lake from 9 a.m. to noon.

Registration for program participants is ongoing. The season runs from April 1 to June 1. The final day is a 5K fun race. Scholarships are available so Denihan says anyone interested won’t be turned away.