Girls on the run

Erika Atencio, Alyssa Atencio, Ada Renee Cruz, Aletza Flores, Aspen Naranjo and Joe Naranjo start the Girls on the Run 5K run at Three Springs in Durango, Saturday, Nov. 4.
Alyssa Atencio and Carmela Huerta finish the 5k strong.
Erika Atentcio and Mia Greene high five each other while they cross the finish line.
Representing BGC; Jania Jackson, Eternity Lucero and Cassandra Sanchez finish the race with pride.
Maria Rivera | The Southern Ute Drum
Maria Rivera | The Southern Ute Drum
Maria Rivera | The Southern Ute Drum
Maria Rivera | The Southern Ute Drum

Hundreds of girls gathered at Three Springs in Durango, Saturday, Nov. 4 to support and encourage each other through a 5k run that they have been preparing ten weeks for. Boys and Girls Club (BGC) introduced the program to four of their students last year, grades third through fifth, this year the number of participants grew to ten. Girls on the Run (GOTR) inspires girls to build lives of purpose and to make a meaningful contribution to community and society.

GOTR was created to culminate with girls positively impacting their communities through a service project and being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5K event. It is a ten week program for girls who are in third through eighth grade and helps them develop essential skills to better navigate their worlds and establish a lifetime appreciation for health and fitness. GOTR is a national program and BGC is part of the Western Colorado Chapter. “The girls really like it and looked forward to the practice 5K and got super pumped for the 5K at Three Springs because they knew they could do it,” BGC Mentor Coordinator Cassandra Sanchez said.

Studies show that by adolescence, girls confidence drops about twice as much as boys and the likelihood of anxiety and depression increases and participation in physical activity plummets. GOTR believes that every girl is inherently full of power and potential. By knowing they are leaders of their lives, these are the girls who will change the world. “At the beginning the girls had their cliques and by the end of the ten weeks the group dynamic was completely different, they came together as a team and were very encouraging to each other,” BGC Program Coordinator, Tristany Sanchez said.

The purpose of Girls on the Run is to teach the young girls six core values: Confidence, character, care, connections, competence and contribution. When the girls develop and strengthen these life skills, they can thrive. GOTR inspires girls to build lives of purpose and to make a meaningful contribution to community and society. “The program built their confidence and taught them to be their unique self and to put good things into their bodies for themselves and into their minds for their community,” Tristany Sanchez said.

There were a lot of family members there to support and cheer on the girls and several that ran with them. BGC plans on continuing the program next year and hope to see participation rise. It’s a great way to encourage girls to gain a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them.

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