Ladies, I've got a new Kind Tribe member for you to meet and in true Kind Tribe form - she is awesome:)
Maybe starting a business or a non-profit is on your list, maybe fitness and health, maybe following your dreams - maybe all three. Or maybe you are just inspired by other women that put on their big girl panties and go for it, I know I am:) As the Council Director for Girls on the Run of Kitsap County, Rachel is all of this. Read on girls and then send Rachel the good juju and help she needs:)
So Rachel, tell us how Girls on the Run of Kitsap County got started?
I was a Girls on the Run coach in Boston for 3 seasons and just fell in love with the program. Coaching was such a fun experience, I met some of my best friends, learned all about the program and gained some insight as to what it would take to run a program like this.
What inspired you to start this program in Kitsap County?
I grew up here, so I have a vested interest in this area and the community. I knew it was a program that our community needed and a program that could really do wonders for our kids. Not only does it incorporate physical fitness, but this program focuses on the all around well-being of girls mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health. Every woman I've ever told about this program first says, "Wow, I wish I had something like this when I was growing up".
Rewind to October of 2012, I had just moved back to Kitsap County. I was contemplating a career change (I was previously in finance and did corporate communications for Bank of America) and Girls on the Run was what I was still very passionate about. That said, I decided to put in my letter of intent to the national program...I applied for a council in February 2013 and we were accepted and I went to National Training in April.
Current day, I am the Council Director and Leslie Hughes is the Board of Director President. She was recommended through a mutual friend and I'm so thankful she is in my life. She is phenomenal - an absolute rock star!
Starting a business is not something I know how to do or would even say I'm good at, but when I started building my board I wanted to make sure that I surrounded myself with good, loyal, and passionate people, but also people who complemented my weaknesses. So far, I think I've done a pretty good job.
I am a believer of "running...it's not about the running". What kinds of things does GOTR promote in their curriculum?
GOTR is an activity based program that has a curriculum designed to build confidence, educate, and empower girls to ensure they are healthy mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. (Side note: spiritually is used in a very general sense!) Topics include, healthy eating, identifying emotions, gossiping, bullying, goal setting etc. Girls on the Run is not a competitive running program, running is a way for us to teach life skills and promote healthy outcomes.
What are your goals for GOTR?
My goal for Girls on the Run is to inspire girls to be healthy, confident, empowered and happy little humans. I hope when they are finished with the program, that their coaches become their role models, but more importantly, I hope they know that they have the tools to conquer any of life's challenges and they are awesome just how they are.
What are your BIG DREAMS for Kitsap GOTR?
My big dreams for GOTR is that it succeeds:) In 5, 10, 15 years, I hope that we have changed the lives of 100's of girls:) Maybe one day my daughter will be a GOTR here in Kitsap County! But I will say, starting my own business is pretty darn scary. It's not something I've ever done, I am fumbling my way through legal documents, and marketing plans, and contingency plans, but I've surrounded myself with good people and it's the passion for this program that gets me up everyday at 5:00 a.m. to work on e-mails before I have to head to work and spend my weekends at fair booths. It's incredible to see your big dreams start to come true.
As a program, I do hope in the next 5 years we have a site location at every elementary in the county and obesity rates, suicide rates begin to drop and the overall mental health of our kids begins to improve.
When can we expect to see the first local GOTR event?
GOTR is doing it's best to be visible in the community. We sold hot dogs and hamburgers at the Kingston 4th of July parade, we had a booth at Whaling Days and we will have one also at the Kitsap County Fair and Rodeo. As far as bigger events, we hope very soon.
Unfortunately, in order for our program to even get up and running we have to raise about $10,000. $7,500 is a one time fee paid to GOTR International to become an official independent council. So far, we've raised about $2,500 - we have until October to reach our goal. That said, we need the support of our community behind us to help financially support this incredible program. We are working with individuals, and are always looking for corporate sponsors to support the program. However, we realize it's hard to fundraise for something when you don't have something tangible to show people. We hope that people will begin to invest in the concept of this program.
How has running impacted your life?
I was not a runner. I still wouldn't consider myself a 'runner', maybe a mid-pace jogger? It's a love/hate relationship. I know it's good for me but sometimes I just want to eat ice cream instead of going for a run.
Running only started a few years ago for me. In November of 2009 I ran my first 5k. In April of 2010 I ran the Boston Marathon and in October of 2010 I ran the Chicago Marathon. What I love most about running is that I am able to set a goal that at the time seems impossible, then little by little - day by day- with hard work the goal gets closer and closer until I am able to meet it. In March of 2011 I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis, and spent most of the year immobile. (Did I mention that it was one of the worst winters in Boston's history?? That is one way to test your mental toughness!) Anyway, with some modern medicine, I am back to running. I recently ran my longest race since my diagnosis at the Viking Fest 5-miler. Not sure what's next, but with every run, I am so thankful that I have my health and I can get out there and do it!
How can we help?
You are doing it - be an ambassador of this program. Share our posts with your friends. Tell your dentist about the program. Tell your friend who has a daughter about being a site coordinator. We never know where we are going to meet our next volunteer, board member, or financial supporter, but we need YOU to help us get the word out:)
Cool huh? Here's why I love Rachel and what she's doing...
- She found something she's passionate about (it doesn't always have to be your job) and is using it to make a difference in her community and the world.
- She realizes that starting anything - a business, a non profit, a dream - requires a team. We can't do it all or know it all, find your tribe and then ask for help.
- She knows that physical, mental, and emotional fitness are the cornerstones to living an extraordinary life.
Here's where you can find Rachel and the Girls on the Run of Kitsap County team:
GOTR Paypal link for donations - click here
With courage and kindness,