The vibe in the Charlotte office of Girls on the Run, which houses Girls on the Run International as well as the Charlotte council office, is one of both kindness and strength. Colorful murals and quotes splash across the walls. Pictures show the faces of girls, beaming with inner strength. You can tell that everyone who works here believes in their slogan, “The finish line is just the beginning.”

Girls on the Run (GOTR) is for every girl. And this year they are taking that commitment even further.  

New program

GOTR will be hosting a brand new full-day summer program in July. The program is designed to offer the opportunity to participate to girls that may not be able to attend during the school year due to transportation issues or other scheduling conflicts. Before-camp care and after-camp care will be offered to allow the drop-off and pick-up times to be more flexible for families.

Camp GOTR will be held at Trinity Episcopal School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, the week of July 17. Camp GOTR will offer an experience different from the afterschool program, but one that ties in the same values.

GOTR Summer Theme

According to their flyer, “This one-week program from Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident through a variety of creative and interactive outlets.”

One difference from the traditional program is that the camp will have one week-long cohesive program theme of “Friendship.” The girls will have a chance to really dig deep through whole group and small group activities. Some of the topics they will cover are friendship-making skills, the qualities of a good friend, and conflict resolution within friendships.

Daily life at camp

In the morning, the girls will be introduced to the topic of the day. They will have a “warm up,” then “work out” activity to give them a chance to practice what they’ve learned. Then the girls will get to choose between three different workshops. They will be able to further explore their topic through either storytelling, arts and crafts, or a building workshop.

Jen Gardner, Curriculum Specialist with GOTR International, explained, “Each day, camp participants will have a different prompt that is related to what we talked about that day. For example, in the building workshop, you might make a sculpture of a friend who makes you feel a comfortable emotion. And how they decide to build that is going to be up to them. It’s really open-ended in that way.”

A unique aspect of the summer program is that the afternoon will be spent doing community service projects. The girls will have a chance to give back to their community and to observe how their actions impact others.

Gardner said that the GOTR staff really worked hard to find the balance between making the program feel familiar to girls that participate in the afterschool program, while also making it unique enough to be a completely different experience.

The camp is open to rising 3rd through 5th graders. The coach-to-girl ratio will be two coaches to every 10 to 15 girls, so every girl will be able to receive individual attention. While there is a cost of $350, financial assistance is available.

Ann DellaValle, Fund Development & Marketing Manager with GOTR Charlotte, shared that 59 percent of Charlotte area GOTR participants receive financial aid to enable their participation in this transformational program. Access and inclusion remains a top priority for GOTR Charlotte.

GOTR started in Charlotte in 1996 with 13 girls and now serves over 200,000 annually in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

To learn more, or register for Camp GOTR, visit www.gotrcharlotte.org/camp-gotr. Families can also contact Program Manager Susan Sears at ssears@girlsontherun.org with questions. 

Photos: Girls on the Run, Veritas Community School, Annie-Beth Donahue

This story was written for CharlotteFive’s latest channel for parents in the QC, called QC Playground. Sign up for the weekly QC Playground newsletter here.

 

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Annie Beth Donahue lives in Indian Trail with her husband Brad, and four children. She is a professional writer for both the web and print, and she can be found at www.anniebethdonahue.com. Annie Beth also has a bachelor's degree in music therapy from Queens University of Charlotte, and has either been working with or parenting children with special needs for the past 18 years. She is a children's book author and the founder and president of Signposts Ministries, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves families that have children with chronic health problems or disabilities. In her non-working time, she homeschools and oversees the children's care of their small menagerie made up of chickens, two donkeys, a dog, a cat and a snake.

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