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Girls on the Run of the High Country Announces Start of Fall 2017 Season

Appalachian State University student Amber Driver was the running buddy for Hardin Park student Mary Sirmon in last spring’s GOTR 5k. Photo submitted

BOONE, N.C.—Girls on the Run of the High Country (GOTR-HC) announces the start of the fall 2017 season. Approximately 200 girls in third through eighth grade will participate this fall in GOTR-HC programs, which inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running, according to Council Director Mary Sheryl Horine.

The GOTR-HC program is being offered at schools in Watauga, Wilkes and Avery counties. Schools in Ashe and Alleghany counties may also register to start sites. The program is sponsored by the Beaver College of Health and Science at Appalachian State University and according to Horine, has opportunities for volunteers. The GOTR mission is to serve all girls in the community. Last year 64 percent of participants received some kind of financial assistance to participate in the program.

The fall season runs Sept. 11 – Dec. 3. The 10-week program incorporates running as a tool to inspire and motivate girls, encourage health and fitness habits and build confidence and self-esteem. The curriculum allows girls to establish an understanding of who they are and what is important to them, the role of teams and healthy relationships in their lives and to explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world through community engagement. Girls on the Run “helps girls take charge of their lives and see how rewarding it is to work towards a goal and achieve it,” Horine said.

GOTR is an international organization launched in 1996 to promote physical, emotional and social development in girls. The program, operating in the High Country since 2009, strives to teach girls important life skills they can use to better navigate the challenges of adolescence.

“I feel proud that I can do more than I ever thought I could,” said a fifth grade program participant last spring. Horine states, “We focus on helping girls to become the leader of their own life and get them to identify what’s important for their success.”

The twice weekly after-school lessons are led by trained coaches who guide the girls through the program and help prepare them for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. At the end of the program season, girls and their coaches participate in a 5k run together. The 5k will be held on Sunday, Dec. 3, in Wilkesboro and is open to the entire community.

To learn more about the program, how to volunteer or to register for the community 5k, visit www.gotr.appstate.edu. Horine said participants do not have to be runners to get involved. Girls on the Run needs program coaches, committee members and 5k volunteers. Call 828-262-7557 to discuss which role will best fit your skills, talents and schedule.