CHESTER COUNTY, PA — The YMCA of Greater Brandywine is looking for volunteer coaches for their spring session of Girls on the Run and STRIDE programs. The spring session begins on March 9 and culminates with a 5K on May 30.
The 10-week programs teach self-esteem and confidence as well as healthy habits with running, games and lessons. Kids practice twice a week, generally after school, but coaches have input on scheduling.
Joy Fox was a first-time coach for Avon Grove Intermediate School’s Girls on the Run program this past fall. She never coached in her life and running is not her exercise of choice, but she did it at her nieces’ insistence and enjoyed it so much she is returning for the spring.
“I feel the Girls on the Run program fills a huge need among elementary school-aged girls,” says Joy. “There are many coping and fitness programs for middle and high school girls, but elementary school is where it all starts these days. This program gives them confidence and has them thinking about their health at a critical time in their lives.”
The Y provides training and a manual to help coaches with the curriculum. Joy used the manual like a security blanket initially, but got the hang of it by the second week. She works from home, so she has flexibility in her schedule, but her assistants split time, one leaving work 15 minutes early three times a month to make it work, feeling that 45 minutes a month is not too big a sacrifice in order to share time with her daughter.
In addition to connecting with the girls, watching them grow in confidence and help each other, Joy also found they were helping her. They would challenge her to a race, and while coaches do not have to run, she did occasionally and found that her health was improving. And on a day when she was feeling overly stressed, a girl gave her a note that said simply, “Coach Joy, you are doing great!” which was just what she needed and cemented her commitment to the program.
To join Coach Joy and find out more about volunteer coaching for the Y, visit https://www.ymcagbw.org/gotr-stride-volunteer-form.
Source: YMCA of Greater Brandywine
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