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Just Girls Running Club - Meet Alissa

Published May 06, 2019 00:00

Alissa   Member Profile 2 (1)

Name: Alissa

Age: 15

BGC Club Location: West End Hub

BGC Member Since: Kindergarten

How does coming to the Boys and Girls Club make you feel?

Happy and Safe

What is your favourite memory of the Boys and Girls Club?

Getting the opportunity to play baseball with the Blue Jays at the Club!

What should everyone know about the Boys and Girls Club?

It's a safe environment for people, and really accepting of everyone.

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Bgc Just Girls Running Club Krrc

The Kingston running community was eager to kick off the Spring 2019 running season Saturday, April 27th, 2019, at Limestone Race Weekend. The Just Girls Running Club was there to share in the excitement of finally running outdoors, after they’ve been preparing for Spring running and sports all winter long.

At a time of critical pre-adolescent development, research has proven that many girls drop out of sport by the time they hit their teens. Either due to a drop in confidence and self-esteem, the fact that sports become too competitive, that the girls lack the coaching and mentoring required, or that the idea that ‘sports are for boys’, 41 percent of girls 3-17 years old do not participate in sports. These facts became more and more evident within the Boys and Girls Club After-School Programs, when the staff were noticing the lack of participation on behalf of their female members every day. 

In partnership with Queen’s University and New Balance athlete Julie-Anne Staehli, the Boys and Girls Club Just Girls Running Club was designed and implemented for individuals who identify as female between the ages of 10-13 years old, during this time of critical social, physical, and emotional change. The main goal of the 6-8 week program is the retention of girls in sports, and to introduce them to the physical, social, and psychological benefits of running, and the importance of physical activity in general. The aim is to give the young participants the physical literacy skills and confidence to break down barriers, and to set and achieve their own goals for life-long health.

The program is divided into two components: a workout and a discussion, and is open to all levels of fitness. The workout focuses on increasing their knowledge, abilities, and confidence in the face of physical activity. Play-based games engage the girls in a fun, non-competitive manner, while they jog as a group from the Boys and Girls Club facilities, to nearby parks, and back. The discussion component focuses on supporting the participants through pre-adolescent struggles in a safe and supportive environment; the group discusses healthy relationships, dealing with peer pressure, body changes and positive body image, mental health concerns, and their circle of support, etc. The young athletes celebrate their growth at the end of the program by participating in a locally organized run, varying from 1.5 to 5 kilometers in distance. 

Thanks to the support of the Community Foundation, Jumpstart, ReRun the Shoe Project, and New Balance the Just Girls Running Club has run seven sessions, spanning Fall, Winter, and Spring since September 2016. With many participants returning each session, the young ladies report that they have learned to enjoy running and physical activity, and that they are more comfortable discussing adolescent difficulties. They have also shared that they feel supported by the staff who have become mentors to them at the Boys and Girls Club, and above all that they enjoy the support and encouragement they receive from the other girls in the group. Some of the participants have also inspired the people around them to believe in the power of girls in sport, and are well on their way to developing their own girls fitness groups in their schools. 

The Just Girls Running Club will begin their Spring 2019 Session on May 6th, although members the Just Girls Running Club had the opportunity to kick off their season early with a 2k race this past Saturday thanks to the generous support of the Limestone Race Weekend. Practices occur every Monday (minus holidays) from 4:30-6pm at the Boys and Girls Club West End Hub (Frontenac Mall) location, until June 17th 2019. The Just Girls Running Club will be expanding to include a session offered at the Rideau Heights Community Centre for this season as well. The program is open to the public; however registration is required. A healthy snack is provided at each practice, and all levels of fitness are welcome. 

Please contact kylie@bgckingston.ca for more information. 

The Just Girls Running Club is just one of the Boys and Girls Club’s many programs available to support youth in our community. You can help support these programs by making a donation to The Kingston Whig Standard Campaign today. 

1 https://www.caaws.ca/gender-equity-101/facts-and-stats/

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Whig-Standard/Boys and Girls Club Campaign How to Donate By cheque: 

To the address below and indicate if you would like to keep your donation anonymous. 

By credit card (Visa, MasterCard): Call 613-507-3306, ext. 110 

By cash: At the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston and Area West End Hub, 1300 Bath Rd., Kingston, ON, K7M 4X4 

Online: At www.bgckingston.ca , click on the secure “Donate Now” button on the top right side of the website. 

Tax Receipt: A tax receipt will be mailed to you within four weeks. 

Questions: Heather Hayhow, heatherh@bgckingston.ca 

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