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.