Focusing on Empowerment of Young Female Athletes
By Sabrina Hosmer '18 and Madeleine Poulin '18
Our Humanities and Global Studies Capstone project focuses on empowerment of young female athletes. When considering ways to bring our research and findings to life on our campus, we reached out to the director of Girls on the Run of Montgomery County. GOTR of Montgomery County was founded in 2007 as part of the national program, and each year 5,000 girls in grades 3-8 participate in this area alone.
We thought the GOTR program was a unique way to investigate the power and impact of young girls in sports in our own Bullis community, as well as the positive effects that athletics can have on their body image and confidence. Sabrina remembered doing the program at school when she was in 3rd grade and loved the lessons and workouts. Girls On the Run aims not only for girls to enjoy physical activity, but also teaches helpful life skills such as choosing positive friends, expressing feelings and emotions, and building confidence.
Throughout the program, we took on the role of lead coaches. We spent a Saturday at a training session with Girls On the Run staff and also completed an online training certification. In addition to our leadership, four other adults helped to coach the team: Humanities and Global Studies Capstone teacher Sara Romeyn, 2nd grade teacher Erin Kilic and two volunteer parent coaches, Nikki Herson Cohen and Mimi Arnold. Together, we worked with 15 Lower School girls twice a week for ten weeks.
Each practice included a lesson taught at the beginning of the practice and a workout that incorporated aspects of the lesson. We started the season with an important lesson that focused on the girls individual "Star Power." Star Power is what each girl loves about herself, what she's good at, and how she faces adversities. All of the girls grew during the season as they discovered their strengths and embraced the Girls On the Run goals. We learned more about the girls as their personalities were able to shine while they processed lessons and brainstormed ways to solve conflicts, show empathy, and more. All the practices lead up to our practice 5K and finally the official Girls On the Run 5K.
On the morning of November 19th colored hair spray, energetic music, and an even more enthusiastic group of girls gathered at Montgomery Mall to run our big 5K. Every girl beamed with pride as she crossed the finish line. Every girl worked hard to finish the run, supported by a volunteer buddy: either a parent, coach, or senior girl. We were so proud of them, and it was clear that they were proud of themselves too.