With their spring season steadily approaching, the Treasure Valley-based program “Girls on the Run” is looking to recruit Boise State students as volunteer coaches.
“Girls on the Run” (GOTR), a nonprofit organization devoted to the empowerment of young girls through an exercise-centered program, is preparing to make an in-person return after months of uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
Toni Ramey, the council director for the Treasure Valley program, emphasized the importance of this program during these trying times, as well as how college students play a significant role in its advancement.
“Stressors and trauma related to COVID-19 are undoubtedly negatively affecting girls. Now more than ever, girls need to be accepted, inspired and motivated,” Ramey said. “Knowing that their coach is in college sets an amazing example for these girls.”
The after-school program has grown to serve over 900 girls from multiple counties, with grades ranging from third to eighth grade.
Halfway into their 2020 spring season, health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic had left the organization with no choice other than to cancel the rest of the season.
“It became apparent over the second week of March that this was something serious, something unprecedented, and we could not continue in that way,” Ramey said. “We sent them videos and activities and things like that, but we knew that wasn’t enough.”
For the first time since the organization was formed in 2001, participants and coaches will have the option to become involved both in-person and remotely, depending on which format best suits their needs.
The new virtual program, which was piloted during the summer of 2020 by Ally Orr, a junior marketing major, has allowed GOTR to expand beyond geographical boundaries.
“I coached virtually, I encouraged eight-year-olds to have dance parties online,” Orr said.
Orr has worked with GOTR for over a year as an intern coach. She acquired the position through the help of Bronco Corps, and has since assisted the organization with marketing and organizing lessons for the girls.
“Girls on the Run honestly changes your life whether you’re the person being coached or whether you are the coach,” Orr said. “Yes, you have a test that’s coming up that’s so stressful, but the people in your life really do matter and how you interact with them.”
Along with one-time volunteer opportunities, GOTR offers internships which focus in disciplines such as marketing and public relations, coaching and kinesiology, and entrepreneurship. These internships offer students the opportunity to bring their individual skills to the organization, through which they can earn credits.
“Having something to put on their resume is super valuable,” Ramey said. “It’s not too late if students want to get involved.”
GOTR’s spring season is set to begin in mid-to-late March and will last through mid-to-late May. Thanks to the new virtual program, Boise State students can now become involved regardless of geographical location or individual circumstances surrounding COVID-19. The coaching can be done from the safety of one’s own home, apartment or dorm.
Volunteer and coaching opportunities are open to all students and are not exclusive to women.
“Sometimes people assume that it’s only for women, and that’s not the case,” Ramey said. “If you are a male coach, the girls… it’s like their favorite uncle.”
From its beginning as a sorority philanthropy event to a place of employment for Boise State alumni, Boise State students from a variety of majors and departments continue to make their mark on the organization through their volunteer work, which they have come to consider “a highlight of their semester” according to Ramey.
For more information about how to get involved with Girls on the Run, visit https://www.girlsontherun.org/get-involved/volunteer/.
“[The girls] love college students,” Ramey said. “There are so many ways in which it’s inspiring for both the girls and the coaches.”