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NORTHAMPTON — Girls on the Run (GOTR) Western Massachusetts is preparing for its celebratory 5K run on Saturday, Nov. 14. With modifications in place and close attention paid to current Massachusetts and GOTR guidelines, some teams will be able to run their 5K at their site, in person, and also attend the virtual 5K, while community members are encouraged to participate in a virtual 5K to support the organization.

Traditionally the fall GOTR 5K is held at Smith College, where all teams, coaches, and families come together to celebrate the girls’ achievements throughout the program. During the 20-lesson curriculum, which was shorted to 16 lessons this season due to the pandemic, girls learn social and emotional skills, such as how to manage emotions, establish boundaries, develop confidence, and resolve conflict — all skills that girls can use now and in the future to cope with life challenges. These lessons help to create resiliency among participants and are life skills that youth in the community can use during this difficult and unique time.

This season, thanks to collaboration with local parks and recreation departments and YMCAs, including the Hampshire Regional YMCA, 14 teams and just over 140 girls are participating in the fall 2020 season — fewer than the typical season, which averages 75 teams and 1,400, but GOTR leaders are pleased to have been able to successfully provide in-person and virtual programing to girls at a time when they need it the most. This was due in part to program modifications that included smaller team sizes, a shortened program, and social-distancing modifications to activities to keep girls and their coaches safe.

The GOTR virtual 5K is open to the community and is offered to additional family members and community runners who wish to participate. Registration is $20 and includes a downloadable run bib and training schedule, financial assistance is available as needed. Register at www.girlsontherunwesternma.

Daily News

NORTHAMPTON — Girls on the Run (GOTR) Western Massachusetts is launching its sixth fall season beginning next week. GOTR is a leader in delivering evidence-based life-skills curriculum to girls of all abilities. Through more than 75 sites across the Western Mass. region, it has served more than 5,400 youth since it was founded in 2015.

For the 2020-21 school year, GOTR Western Massachusetts is offering a variety of programs to accommodate the changing and unpredictable school year due to the pandemic. Registration for the season is open at www.girlsontherunwesternma.org. Financial assistance is available to all participants, and no one is turned away for financial need.

“Our staff and coaches are ready to bring critical social-emotional programming to Western Mass. girls at a time when they need it the most,” said Alison Berman, council director. “We have adapted based on the recommendations of local health officials and decisions of local governments and school districts. The three options that we are offering — in-person, hybrid, and virtual — make it possible for girls to stay active despite the pandemic. Our fluid model will work completely in-person, completely virtually, or can seamlessly transition between the two as needed.”

GOTR programming is being delivered, as in the past, with enhanced safety measures including physical-distancing modifications and smaller teams. Should sites close, the in-person programs will be easily transitioned to a virtual model, with lessons that mirror the in-person program. This fluid programming model ensures that participants will experience the social, emotional, and physical outcomes of the program while allowing local teams to adjust to changes in school and community health guidelines throughout the season.

Virtual programming is also available for families who would prefer that option. Virtual fall programming is delivered by trained coaches in a safe virtual space, with lessons that mirror the in-person Girls on the Run or Heart & Sole program. Virtual programming will include physical activity and social-emotional learning, providing girls with an opportunity to build meaningful connections with their peers and caring adult role models.

“Together, we will find a way to motivate girls to nurture their physical and emotional health, no matter the circumstances,” Berman said.

Girls on the Run is looking for a few more volunteers for their fall season. Volunteer coaches will receive the training and materials required to provide girls a safe, trauma-sensitive space to learn valuable life lessons and be active. Coaches do not need to be runners.

Daily News

NORTHAMPTON — Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts unveiled the Power Up Activity Kit to help keep Western Mass. girls active and healthy through the summer while inspiring creativity, encouraging movement, and teaching new skills. Girls on the Run is a leader in developing and delivering life-changing programs for girls through more than 75 sites across Western Mass. and has served more than 5,400 girls since it was founded in 2015.

After the cancelation of schools, implementation of social distancing, and the restrictions around large public events due to the coronavirus pandemic, the nonprofit adapted quickly to alter its spring season to continue to deliver on its mission to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident. This new offering also delivers on that mission.

“Providing girls with opportunities to develop empathy, build resiliency, and identify and understand their values, choices, and emotions are important now more than ever before,” said Alison Berman, council director of Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts. “It is never too early for girls to learn how to put these important skills into practice. This kit will help girls move, laugh, and grow, and in the process find their inner girl power.”

The at-home kit includes 50 activities to fuel girls’ mind, body, and spirit that emphasize the important connection between physical and emotional health. Each activity helps girls learn important skills, such as how to cope when things get difficult, demonstrate care for self and others, and practice positivity. From silly starters to fun movement games and challenges, the activities were designed to get girls to laugh, create, and grow.

Available at www.girlsontherunwesternma.org, the kit costs $49 and includes the Power Up Activity Book, an exclusive GRL PWR T-shirt, a physical-activity training plan, a completion certificate, and a few other fun surprises, delivered directly to each girl’s doorstep.

The nonprofit organization is also raising funds to provide sponsored kits to girls within the community. Visit the website to make a donation.

“For five years, we have always done everything we can to support all girls as they navigate adolescence,” Berman said. “This kit will help her grow her confidence and realize the potential she has to power up.”

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