GOTR Girl & Coach Blog 2014

Week Ten

Kaitlyn and Paula, Williams Elementary, San Jose

Kaitlyn:

The Friendship Seat game was really exciting. I got to learn a little bit more about why I am such a good friend and tell others why they are such a good friend. We were filling other girl’s buckets while we were filling our own. I also enjoyed signing t-shirts because each team mate had the ability to be able to remember everyone else.

The morning of the 5K I was super tired. When we got to Vasona Park I was excited because I knew I would be running with my soccer coach. My goal was to beat my last year’s time, which I did by 5 minutes. I was very proud of myself. We had our Final Xelebration right after the race. It was fun seeing everyone getting their award for finishing the 5K. One of my coaches gave us each a CD with fun songs on it. These songs will remind me of the fun times I have had this year with Girls on the Run.

Paula:

At Williams we have a saying, “Are you being a Bucket Filler or a Bucket Dipper?”  Being a bucket filler completely encompasses the GOTR philosophy. It’s being plugged in the positive cord and encouraging others around you to do the same. The High 5 CELEBRATE exercise had smiles on everyone’s faces and the Friendship Seat game was a favorite of everyone. I liked that the girls were able to fill everyone’s bucket, one girl at a time (in addition to having her bucket filled by the rest of the team). I enjoyed seeing the smiles, giggles and thoughtful words everyone gave. Finally, the t-shirt signing was a hit, as always. I treasure the words on my shirt and the girls who I was so blessed to spend these past 10 weeks with.

Race day was amazing!  There was a wonderful sense of community as everyone arrived to their tables. We applied tattoos and colored hair sprayed and took pictres. The girls were so excited to get going and complete the run. It was great out on the course, watching everyone move forward to reaching their goal, hearing coaches and parents cheer on the runners, and seeing smiles from ear to ear as people crossed the finish line. The sense of accomplishment flowed all around.

We had our Final Celebration directly after the race. It was nice to have parents and siblings join us as we gave props to the girls, as individuals and as a team.

Week Nine

Kaitlyn and Paula, Williams Elementary, San Jose

Kaitlyn:

I liked the trusting game. You could lean where ever you wanted knowing that people would catch you and pass you around. It felt like an amusement park ride! If one person in a community does something wrong or mean it breaks the chain of trust. I liked the workout today.

The game with the beach ball was really cool! We worked together as a team very well and were able to keep the ball in the air for 35 hits. When we were running together we thought of really weird ways to get around the track. We were soldiers, we did Gangnam Style and sometimes even sprinted to the next corner while staying together. We also linked arms and jogged.

Our community impact project was painting garden boxes at our school. The boxes were plain brown before we painted them and they looked odd against the colorful plants. The fun part was getting our hands all messy and sticky from the paint when we put our handprints on the sides. It felt good to do this as a team because we were making the world a better place.  I was working with girls that I didn’t know as well so I got to know them a little better,

Paula:

It was interesting to watch the girls do the trusting game. Some girls completely let go and trusted the team to carry them around the circle while others were not quite as darning. While processing, the team shared how some of them struggle with trust but that it’s important to have it, especially within a community. They want to feel “secure” and “safe.”. The warm-up was a great visual, and I think it really helped the girls to realize that changes can start small, with one person, but that vision can grow and grow and make a big impact.

For our community project we spruced up our school garden by painting the remaining unfinished garden boxes. We put girls together who didn’t know each other well, gave them a few colors of paint and had them make their own design on them. It was nice watching the girls interact with each other and come up with ways to decorate the boxes. Most LOVED the idea of putting their handprints on them. This was a great time to relax, listen to music and help out our school.

Week Eight

Kaitlyn and Paula, Williams Elementary, San Jose

Kaitlyn:

It was fun practicing the 5K. I was able to do one extra mile. I was proud of everyone on my team because we all made it to the end. It was great because everyone cheered everyone else on when they crossed the finish line.

Advertisements lie. I liked working in a group and discussing the magazine advertisements. It makes me feel sad to see misleading advertisements because the customers might not know what they are getting into. I wish all companies had positive advertisements.

Paula:

It was hot, hot, hot on our Practice 5K day but the girls were all troopers!  We had music, lots of water and a wonderful energy to carry us though.  We had necklaces for the girls to wear every other lap and spelled down their arm, “You Go Girl, GO! :)”  One letter for every lap they did. I was quite impressed with how everyone was focused on the goal of completing the 5K and how encouraging they all were. At the end of the lesson you could see a sense of accomplishment on each and every girl’s faces. It was a good day!

This was one of my favorite lessons, both last year and this year. We are constantly being bombarded with false and misleading advertisements everywhere we look. I think it is important for the girls to stop and really drill down on what they are seeing and thinking about the message that is being sent out. They were truly thoughtful of the message and applying that to how they view themselves.

Week Seven

Aiko and Allison, Queen of Apostles School, San Jose

Aiko:

Gossiping can lead to different stories. When you gossip, people can find out what you said about them, which can lead to bad things. People can get mad and gossip about you, so then you know how it feels. People can get their feelings hurt. When you gossip what you say stays out there in the world. It doesn’t come back to your mind. My team and I learned this with a toothpaste exercise. Coach Allison (my mom) had us try to put a small amount of toothpaste back into the tube. It was hard and we couldn’t do it. She told us that if we say something hurtful about someone we cannot take it back no matter how hard we try. Gossiping is a bad thing to do, so you shouldn’t do it.

Allison:

Two of my favorite topics were the lessons this week: gossip and dealing with bullies. The girls really opened up and shared some of the issues they have been having with in terms of their peers at school. They really loved doing one of the exercises. Each girl came up with some great responses to the “negative statements” we came up with. I love doing the toothpaste exercise, because every time you will get someone that just knows they can get every little bit back in. I love the powerful message it gives back to the girls – and the visual proof of the remaining toothpaste really shows them how gossiping can hurt someone forever. The telephone game is another favorite of mine, because no matter what by the end of the circle a simple, innocent statement turns into a crazy message! This is a great way to teach them how rumors get started and also how much the story can change from person to person.

Kaitlyn and Paula, Williams Elementary, San Jose

Kaitlyn:

This lesson was a nice review about bullying. During our first activity I was in a group where instead of drawing pictures we wrote things that bullies might say. We made up a sentence that said, “You’re so _______________!  Why couldn’t you be better at __________?”  This is sentence that some of us have heard often. I really enjoyed the game we played afterwards.

At our next lesson one thing I learned was there were two types of popularity. The first one is forced popular where you hang out with people who bully you or you hang out with people because you don’t want to be picked on. Being “real popular” means you are nice and kind and everyone actually wants to be around you. I had never thought of there being two different types of being popular before. My absolute favorite activity was running the track and playing tag. It was fun to play a large game of tag with the coaches always being “it”!

Paula:

This was a great review lesson for our girls. I think some of them hadn’t given much thought to the different categories of bullying. We did focus a little more on cyberbullying since many of our girls have access to various technology gadgets. It tends to be easier to cyberbully rather than bully face-to-face.

Having a strong support group is very important to me, especially for my kids. This lesson on friendship and the idea of “choosing” who we want as friends was wonderful. It appeared as though some of the girls hadn’t really thought about it in this particular way. Our team seemed to have the need to make a distinct separation between being kind and courteous to everyone verses pretending everyone was your friend. One girl commented that if someone isn’t nice to them, they try to stay away from that particular person. However, if they do interact this girl needs to be a GOTR girl and still be nice. The team also saw that if you are nice, you tend to attract nice people and if you are mean you tend to attract mean people.

Week Six

Aiko and Allison, Queen of Apostles School, San Jose

Aiko:

This week we learned about peer pressure and standing up for ourselves. These two subjects helped me at home and at my school. The standing up for myself helped me because we learned the “I feel statement”. When I got home, I used it on my family. It helped get my feelings out to them, and I wasn’t expecting them to use it back to me. It helped with my class because a lot of people get sad and upset in my class and they make fun of other people. I saw this happen one day, so I went to the people and stood up for them. The feeling of standing up for someone felt great. Peer pressure can happen everywhere. So I thought it was a good idea to be taught that and how to say no. My friend was telling the group that they used some things they learned at Girls on the Run because they were having friend problems at school. And it actually helped her get more reasonable answers and to tell them that they shouldn’t be doing this and that it wasn’t very mature of them either. Hearing that made me think that this would really help and this is a great exercise. This week was fun!

Allison:

This week was a bit stressful for me. My daughter and I were leaving for Anaheim for five days, so I was busy organizing the family schedule, getting packed up for our trip and along with crazy days at work it took its toll on me this week. I’m sure the girls picked up on my low energy, however, by the time we got to the stretching part of each practice, the girls had me laughing and my stress had gone away. This week we worked on peer pressure and Standing up for ourselves. The girls were a bit chatty on the day we learned the “ I feel statement”  so I used it as an example. “I feel frustrated when you talk over me because then I need to talk louder, I would like for you to stop talking when I am talking.” Guess what? It worked!  The girls loved this lesson and they came up with great “I feel statements” to situations that were bothering them.

Kaitlyn and Paula, Williams Elementary, San Jose

Kaitlyn:

When the coaches asked the question, “How do your feel if someone is bothering you with inappropriate behavior?” I thought that person probably felt like someone had bullied them that say. This makes me feel unhappy. I think it’s almost like they are bullying themselves. I would change things by asking them if I could help them with anything if they are feeling sad. Then I would say, “I feel unhappy when you bully me because it makes us both sad. I would like for you to be nicer to me and other kids.”

I liked the way, when we played telephone, that the phrase would go in one side of the circle and out the other completely different. It’s like when you hear one thing and you can’t remember it all so it comes out different. This is like gossip. You change it so that it sounds better. I know that if I gossip people may not trust what I say. I try not to gossip. What I really enjoyed was the scavenger hunt. We got to go all around the school using our imagination. My favorite thing we found was “Find something sticky”. Our team found a stick and swept up a cobweb with it.

Paula:

This was a very fun lesson for me. We picked one of the most unsuspecting kids to be the “troublemaker”.  What was totally amazing to me was when a girl approached me towards the end of the lesson and said, “I was hurt when she didn’t cooperate with the activity because I look up to her. Next time, could you please pick someone else to be the troublemaker?” I think today’s lesson hit home!

This lesson was a great reminder for me that even the smallest question about someone truly is gossip, and that our kids hear us adults gossip. One girl came to me during our scavenger hunt and asked exactly what gossip was and if grown-ups did it too. I told her that yes, adults gossip too. I told her that even I gossip and that I shouldn’t. It really hit home for me that I am a role model, not only to my kids, but to others as well.  I too need to use the approach we've learned in Girls on the Run more in my life.

Week Five

Aiko and Allison, Queen of Apostles School, San Jose

Aiko:

This week we talked about cooperation and valuing things. For cooperation, we played a a fun game.. My group included me, Hannah and Vanessa. We worked very well together. Working well together made it fun and easier to play the game. Then we ran laps. We were told to run with a buddy. My buddy was Hannah. We had to work together to get all the lap counters back to my mom. Hannah and I were the first to finish our laps. Then we helped a girl on our team named Vanessa. We both helped her run laps by running with one of her counters. We turned them in to my mom.  After we helped her run we took a water break. Then we sat down in a circle with my team and talked about cooperation. Then we had our snack. When we were done with snack our coaches handed out paper to us and told us to write down who we thought should get the energy award. When we were done our coaches collected our papers. Then our coaches took our papers and looked for the person with the most votes. The energy award was presented to me and my teammate Andrea. This was my second time getting the energy award which made me feel pretty excited! When we were done presenting the energy awards we did my ending cheer that I made up. It made me happy that I got the energy award and the coaches chose my cheer for the end of practice. It was a good week.

Allison:

Wow, week five already! The rain really hit us hard for our Monday practice. I am thankful that we have access to the school gym, so were still able to run a full practice. Monday’s lesson was about cooperation. It was so fun to watch the girls work together and talking things through. I love seeing the more quiet girls start to become more comfortable with the group and really start to take the lead. They loved the centipede game they had to play. They all screamed when they finally got it as a group.

This week, I decided to have the girls write on a piece of paper who they thought should earn the energy award. I collected all of the papers and we chose the girls who had the most votes. It turned out to be my daughter, Aiko! I called on those girls that nominated her and each one gave a reason why they felt Aiko deserved the energy award. I think I’ll continue having the girls choose, since I think it’s important that they are able to take ownership of this and I do believe they enjoy it. This group is so creative when it comes to their energy awards. We now have: Grandma style, Jazz Hands, Harlem Shake and Octopus to add to our choices. The most popular one is still hands down “Go Bananas!”

Kaitlyn and Paula, Williams Elementary, San Jose

Kaitlyn:

I really liked the Centipede Circle game. I liked that we all had to cooperate to make a full rotation. One girl was chosen to say when to step and then we all stepped together. We never lost a paper to the windy wind. My favorite part of the day was the game we played. I liked that it was a combination of drawing, teamwork and running.

My favorite part of this lesson was running laps while doing the exercise we learned about. I liked being able to respond to different peer pressure situations and guessing what the message was going to be.

Paula:

This, thus far, has been my favorite lesson.  It was eye opening to see different personalities work through the Centipede exercise. Girls who were normally shy really spoke up and gave opinions as to how to solve this issue. Our team lost a few papers along the way but most of all, I enjoyed seeing them really work together as a team to get a full rotation. There was a great deal of laughter and fun.

Though we do not see it often in our area, there is peer pressure around. This lesson really hit home practical ways girls can stand their ground and find ways to be their own person. I took the time to find a scenario for each letter/lap the girls took. The girls really seemed to enjoy and think about how they would respond to each scenario.

Week Four

Aiko and Allison, Queen of Apostles School, San Jose

Aiko:

Last week was very fun. We talked about celebrating gratitude. We had to run around the school gym but we couldn’t talk to anyone. It was a little hard to do because I am used to talking to everyone. I felt good, excited and grateful .Some people on my team talked a little bit, but I understand because it’s hard to not talk to anyone.  We could give our teammates a thumbs up or say great job without speaking. The lap counters were different colored star shaped beads. At the end of the workout we decided to trade our beads for different colors. I counted my beads and I was surprised that I ran 21 laps! Our snack was hummus and pita chips – I enjoyed the snack!

Allison:

For this lesson the theme was gratitude. It seemed to be an easy topic with the girls and also something they all wanted to talk about. They especially loved to share about how they keep journals and/or diaries; some even shared a few secrets with the group. I felt this was especially touching since for many of these girls, they are just starting to get to know one another. For the workout , the girls were told they needed to run but could not talk. We (the coaches) felt we needed to make some modifications to the rules, but then we decided to “challenge” the girls. They all took to the challenge well, running the entire 25 minutes with no talking! I found the challenge a bit hard myself – but I managed to “silent” clap for them and held out my hand for them to high five as they ran by. At the end of the workout we passed out snack and their GOTR T-shirts. We ended practice with two energy awards and our Girls on the Run cheer.

Kaitlyn and Paula, Williams Elementary, San Jose

Kaitlyn:

One thing I am grateful for is making new friends from Girls On The Run. Last year there was a girl on the team that I didn’t know at all. Now we are good friends. This year there are girls on the team that I didn’t know when the season began and once again, I am getting to know new people from school through Girls on the Run.

It was raining at the beginning of the lesson but luckily we were still able to run. I really liked having time to run by myself and I was able to run more than a 5K during the workout.

Paula:

t was interesting to hear how many girls take the time to write in a diary on a regular basis, and why it was important to them. One girl shared that it helped her to be able to put her thoughts down on paper instead of having them run around in her head. My fellow coaches and I noticed a positive trend. Those girls who normally average two to four laps were able to do four to six laps during this lesson. It’s amazing how much more we can accomplish when we are focused on our task!

Week Three

Aiko and Allison, Queen of Apostles School, San Jose

Aik:

Girls on the Run is fun! On Monday, our coach told us about healthy eating. One of the coaches handed out copies of the food pyramid. Then after we looked at the food pyramid we went around the circle and everyone had to tell something that they could do to stay healthy. We then played a running game that involved our eating habits. I learned a lot about how I can eat healthy and have fun while I’m doing it.

On Wednesday, we went into the gym and played a game that involved running to a coach on the other side of the gym, anaswering questions and then running back to our team. The next person would go when they saw our teammate at the table writing. It would keep on rotating.

Allison:

This week went by pretty fast! I can tell the girls are becoming more comfortable with one another because I find myself reminding them that we all need to listen to “one” voice. I love that they are bonding so well, but it has also made practices a bit more challenging. I’ve asked that when we sit in our group circle that they sit next to someone that is not in their class and someone they don’t know very well. This worked for about a week, so I think at our next practice I will be introducing a talking stick. I don’t see this as a negative sign but as a positive one. I love that they are feeling so comfortable with us (the coaches) as well as with each other. The girls are very enthusiastic and want to run as much as possible. They have taken every challenge we’ve given them and have even exceeded our goals! They especially love to run laps which made this Wednesday’s practice a BIG hit since we played bingo for the workout. The girls all ran at least 10 laps, if not more. By the end of practice, all the girls had at least one bingo and a few had two. When I asked them if they had fun, they all yelled out “YES!!” in unison. We ended our practice with a few energy awards and a cheer that one of the girls made up.

Kaitlyn and Paula, Williams Elementary, San Jose

Kaitlyn:

Our team talked about healthy habits. I thought I lived a really healthy lifestyle. There is a girl on our team who eats at least one piece of fruit in the morning every day. One thing I told my team is to always drink water after exercising, even if you don’t feel thirsty or dehydrated.

Paula:

It was fun hearing at the beginning of the lesson all the different ways we can live healthy lives. It actually took longer than I had thought for someone to say “eating healthy foods”. I think the girls thoroughly enjoyed the warmup game that involved running and nutrition. In terms of the running, I think some girls are really getting the idea of what pacing means. Some girls are still struggling to keep an even pace throughout the workout.

Week Two

Aiko and Allison, Queen of Apostles School, San Jose

Aiko:

On Wednesday, it was Wacky Wednesday (but it wasn’t really wacky). We talked about negative self-talk and positive self-talk. My mom divided us into two groups and we played a game where we said negative things. It made my group feel bad about ourselves. Then when we were done with that exercise we talked about positive self-talk which made my group feel a lot better. Finally, we ran laps with colored hair bands for lap counters. Our goal was to run 10 laps and once we got to seven, my mom said we could turn in our hair bands for a fancy one to keep. I pushed myself to finish first because I really wanted an energy award. I didn't get it this week, and that made me feel sad. I will try to remember to use positive self-talk when I’m feeling sad.

Allison:

I started our Wednesday lesson telling the girls it was “Wacky Wednesday.” They giggled, and then I explained why. I had forgotten my bag of running gear at home. I had it packed and waiting by the front door, but I was late for work and failed to grab it. This was a perfect lead-in to our lesson: negative self- talk. I used myself as an example stating “Wow, I’m really stupid for forgetting my workout clothes.” Then I changed my negative “self” statement to “I am going to pack my workout clothes in my car the night before and wake up 30 minutes earlier on my work days to help me be on time.” The girls responded well to this lesson. I got colored hair bands to be the lap counters for our workout and purchased a set of fancier hair bands for the girls to keep. I told them once they got to seven laps they could trade their colored bands for a fancier one. The hairbands were a big hit. As I write this, I remember seeing some of the girl's faces (including my daughters) as we told them who the coaches had decided on to receive the energy award. Now that I read her blog, I understand. It’s not easy. So, I’ll be working with the other coaches to figure out a way to help keep the girl's morale up when they aren’t chosen. Luckily every girl will receive an energy award eventually during the season.

Kaitlyn and Paula, Williams Elementary, San Jose

Kaitlyn:

My favorite value from the Girls On The Run worksheet was choosing to respect others by encouraging them. I love to run. I was assigned a partner for the 2.5 mile laps of the workout. Every time I passed her I asked her what lap she was on and I always said, “Good Job!”

At the beginning of the lesson we had to go around the circle and say something positive about ourselves.   I felt happy because we were all being positive about one another . I also really enjoyed the running because I heard positive compliments from my coaches that I didn’t know before.

Paula:

This lesson was interesting in that many of our girls choose to work together to obtain the goal of 2.5 miles. Some girls ran side by side and encouraged each other the entire time, while other sets of girls realized some were stronger than others and said they would do more for their team. This truly showed the value of encouraging one another and allowine girls to be themselves. I also enjoyed hearing what each girl choose as their one item to name for being a Girl On The Run.

Learning about positive self-talk was eye-opening for some of our girls. One girl said that she realized how much negative self-talk she does throughout the day. I think this idea of positive self-talk will change the way she operates day-to-day. My favorite part of this lesson was the statements we made to the girls as they did their laps. We had quite a number of girls really getting into it, repeating what we said with quite a bit of passion.

Week One


Aiko put her name labels on her homework folder.

Aiko and Allison, Queen of Apostles School, San Jose

Aiko:

This is my first year doing Girls on the Run and so far it’s been really exciting. At our first practice we talked about being nice to each other and we came up with names for each other.  Another activity we did was when one of the coaches called out our favorite thing we would have to run to the other coach on the other side and run back. It felt really fun to do this and I got to make more friends.

Our second practice we had to run laps and every time we finished a lap we would get a string. Our goal was to do 12 laps. If we finished before others we could help them run laps. At the end of that activity we tied all our strings together and called it the Girls on the Run cord. This cord means that we are outgoing, we won’t be mean to others, we are amazing just how we are. No one can change us.  Doing Girls on the Run makes me feel like I can be myself.

Allison:

As I start my third year as a Girls on the Run coach I am so excited since this year I'm able to bring this amazing, empowering program to Queen of Apostles, the school my daughter attends.  She is in third grade now, and can participate along with me. At first, I didn’t think I was going to get enough interest at our school. By the end of February, we only had 7 girls, and that was including my daughter. As I prepared for our first practice and was making my rounds of reminder phone calls to the team, I received an email from the Girls on the Run office saying more girls had registered. Our little team went from 7 to 12 overnight!!! We are now at 13 as I just received confirmation that another girl has signed up. The girls are amazing and are working very well together. The “adjective” activity was a big hit and by the end of our first practice everyone was begging to have a try at calling out each other’s new names. They all loved the energy award, which everyone received on the first day. At the end of our second practice, the girls came up with their  own versions of energy awards, which we will be incorporating in future lessons. What a great first week

Kaitlyn and Paula, Williams Elementary, San Jose

Kaitlyn:

On the first lesson I liked running around the cones when the fact given agrees with who you are. I liked it because I learned about what the other girls liked and what type of personality they have.

In lesson two I learned about being “That Girl."  What this means to me is that you should do your best to think positively. Even when I am tired or not feeling well I should still be nice to the people around me. I don’t want to be that negative person. My favorite part of the entire week was trading our stickers for strings while running laps. I like my positive cord!

Paula:

I really enjoy the Girls on the Run program for several reasons. Primarily I delight in meeting new students from our school (and getting to know better the girls I already know),. I also like being able to interact with the girls in a completely different way. Seeing the girls run for different truth statements allowed me to get to know all of them just a little bit more. It was also great teaching the new girls a few of the energy awards.

During the second lesson there were good discussions about how we can be more positive and less negative in our lives. The girls did a wonderful job acting out their positive ideas and discussing how they can be a positive force in their day-to-day lives. Getting out onto the track for the first time in a while was a challenge for me. Again, I was able to stop and take a breather and walk with some girls and get a more personal view of their thoughts on the lessons.

Educating and Preparing Girls for a Lifetime of Self Respect
national sponsors:
Girls on the Run 5k | FAQ | Our Partners | Contact Us | website info