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Maple Grove Voice

Girls on the Run Provides Empowerment at Rice Lake Elementary

Sep 08, 2017 06:20AM ● By Doug Erlien
Girls on the Run is a non-profit organization which provides mentorship to third to eighth grade girls to help empower them to recognize their inner strength.

“At Girls on the Run, we envision and work towards a world in which every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams,” 
Development Coordinator Kelsey McKenna said. “That mindset drives myself and my team of  co-coaches to bring our own best selves to every practice.”

Rice Lake Elementary has hosted the program since 2015, and beginning in September, will begin its sixth season for students.

"I think it is a great program for girls to help develop their confidence and their love of physical fitness," Rice Lake Phy Ed Teacher Nancy Packer said. "Running is something you can do anywhere, anytime and having girls learn about this will only help them in the future with their fitness."

Girls meet 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. The curriculum encourages positive social, emotional, mental and physical development.

“We are so grateful to be part of the Rice Lake community,” McKenna said. “Our goal is to serve every girl who is interested in the program and be relevant to all girls. Girl interest at Rice Lake Elementary has continued to grow and oftentimes our team completely fills with girls who participate in our fall or spring season.”

The results of the girls participating in Girls on the Run are showing. 

"I have noticed more confidence in the girls who have been a part of the program especially during our physical education classes when we are fitness testing," Packer said. "Running a mile is one of our fitness tests and we fitness test in the fall and the spring. The girls who have been in Girls on the Run are ready to run, they know what to expect and they just seem more confident to try their best."

Volunteer coaches
 serve as role models and mentors as they work with their co-coaches to lead a group of third through fifth grade girls through a 10-week, 20-lesson season from September to mid-November. It also includes physical activity as a component, culminating with a 5K run at the end of the program at Harriet Island in St. Paul.

“None of the magic happens without the help of the community and that’s the reason Rice Lake is such a great fit with Girls on the Run,” McKenna said. “The support from Rice Lake Elementary has allowed us to hold practices on-site after school and recruit participants, and the community has provided volunteer coach support as well as spectators for the end-of-season celebratory 5K event.”

For more information: email Kelsey McKenna -
or visit the website

Photos courtesy of Girls on the Run 

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