Steamboat Springs Routt County’s Girls on the Run culminated Saturday in Grand Junction with the 11th annual Harbert Lumber Fall 5K.
Girls on the Run uses the power of running to help prepare girls for a lifetime of healthy living and self-respect, said Shannon Casson, a physical education teacher at Soda Creek Elementary School. She said the program expanded to include about 120 third- through eighth-graders from five Routt County schools in its second year.
“Last year, we just had Soda Creek and Strawberry Park,” said Casson who helped bring the program to the Steamboat elementary schools last year. “This year we expanded to three new sites.”
In addition to Hayden Valley Elementary School and South Routt Elementary School, which were added this year, Steamboat Springs Middle School also participated, Casson said. She said the middle school program is called Girls on Track, which incorporates different lessons that are age-appropriate for sixth- through eighth-graders.
Casson said the 10-week elementary school program incorporates lessons such as promoting healthy body image, resisting peer pressure, making healthy decisions and contributing to the community.
“We want to empower girls with a greater awareness, sense of achievement in a foundation of team building to help them become strong, attentive and self-confident young women,” she said.
Lisa Olson, whose daughter Taylor is a fifth-grader at Soda Creek, said in an e-mail that Taylor participated for the second time this year. Olson said it’s a great program. Girls on the Run has helped increase Taylor’s confidence, she said, while allowing her to participate in a sport she loves.
“The more we can empower our girls to be healthy, confident, happy, compassionate and powerful girls, the better they will be able to handle the pressures of growing up,” she said. “The group of girls is really fun, and they are very supportive of each other, which is fun to watch, too.”
Casson said after a successful second year, she’s already planning for the third year, which will start at the beginning of next school year.