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“I saw a difference in her.” Girls on the Run seeks coaches to make a difference in young lives


Sponsored content provided by Girls on the Run of South Central Wisconsin

Bobbi Simpson wasn’t a runner.

“I wouldn’t even say I’m the most healthy person,” she says with a laugh.

But two days a week in the spring and fall, the elementary cross-categorical teacher is a coach with the Gompers Elementary School Girls on the Run team.

The Gompers Elementary School Girls on the Run team.

Girls on the Run is an after-school program that gets girls in third, fourth and fifth grades running.

Simpson’s involvement started when her daughter joined five years ago.

“She seemed to love it and I saw a difference in her,” Simpson says.

Girls on the Run of South Central Wisconsin is recruiting more coaches – especially coaches of color.

Simpson says she loves coaching because it creates time to “share those moments and memories with the girls outside of school and to embrace that healthy lifestyle for them. It helps to build confidence and self esteem. We really show the girls how to celebrate one another, to believe in themselves, and to actually do something and feel good about the achievement.”

Though running is the core activity, the program isn’t about time or speed – nobody’s trying to create the next Olympic track star.

“It’s about empowering girls,” says Girls on the Run of South Central Wisconsin executive director Christine Benedict. “We’re setting goals, achieving goals, building self-esteem. We want girls to know they can achieve anything.”

Coaches are key in that process, Benedict said. No particular expertise in running or any other sport is necessary; coaches just need to be committed to inspiring girls to succeed. Coaches are provided with all the material they need, including curriculum, activities and practice plans.

The twice-weekly practices for the spring season get underway at schools across the area in the third week of April, and the season culminates in a 5K run in Verona in early June. 

Coaches are required to attend at least one of those two weekly practices as well as the 5K. Coaches must also submit to a background check and complete a half-day training session.

In addition to becoming a key figure in helping girls form a positive outlook, Simpson said coaching helps her stay healthy, too.

“It’s never too late, you know?” she says. “It gets me to be active when I otherwise would sit on the couch.”

Coaching applications for the spring season are open until March 27. 

Girls on the Run of South Central Wisconsin is a chapter of the national Girls on the Run organization. Schools and other organizations in Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Rock, and Sauk Counties all have established teams. Click here to see whether your local school already has a team; if it doesn’t you can start one or coach at a nearby team.

More information and the online application is available at https://www.girlsontherunscwi.org/coach.

Coaches are especially needed at the following locations:

Site Name Practice Days Practice Time
Token Springs Elementary Mon/Wed 2:45-4:15pm
Bird Elementary Mon/Wed 3:00-4:30pm
Eastside Elementary Mon/Wed 3:00-4:30pm
John Muir Elementary Tue/Thur 3:30-5:00pm
Leopold Elementary Tue/Thurs 2:45-4:15pm
Marquette Elementary Mon/Wed 3:45-5:15pm
Olson Elementary Tue/Thur 3:30-5:00pm
One City Schools Tue/Thur 4:30-5:45pm
Kegonsa Elementary Tue/Thur 3:30-5:00pm
Granite Ridge School Tue/Thur 4:00-5:30pm
Waubesa Intermediate School (T/Th) Tue/Thur 3:30-5:00pm
Prairie View/Netherwood Elementary Tue/Thur 3:15-4:45pm