A physical activity-based positive youth development after-school program for girls

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Girls on the Run is a physical, activity-based, after-school program developed by Girls on the Run International, in North Carolina, USA. Designed for girls in Grades 3-8, the program aims to promote understanding and development of self-care, self-awareness, self-knowledge, teamwork, healthy relationships, and empowerment using running games and other physical activities, and discussion. Trained coaches lead small groups on this 10-week program, with two lessons each week, lasting 75 to 90 minutes. There is a strong focus on character building and relationship skills. Over the course of the program, girls are encouraged and taught to identify positive traits in self and others, manage negative thoughts, collaborate with teammates, stand up for themselves and resist peer pressure. Participants also plan and carry out a community service project of their choice over the course of the program, and complete a 5km run at the end of the 10 weeks.

Facilitators are required to attend a free Coach Training, which includes four online modules and one 4.5 hour in-person training.

Studies evaluating Girls on the Run have found student-reported increases in caring, self-esteem, self-confidence, positive connections with others, as well as higher levels of positive attitudes toward physical activity.