Girls on the Run of Lancaster and Lebanon counties (GOTR) have organized a plan to set in motion a revamped version of their fall season programs.

Read More: Girls on the Run is helping local students learn life lessons through physical activity

The GOTR staff and volunteer coaches have included necessary changes to the programs to be able to still provide girls in third to eighth grades with ways to take care of their physical and emotional health during the COVID-19 era. GOTR is aware that the COVID-19 pandemic may have placed additional stress on many children’s lives.

Several of the revisions that have been made to both the GOTR (third to fifth grades) and Heart and Sole (sixth to eighth grades) programs include smaller team sizes for limited physical exposure, a program duration shortened from ten weeks to eight weeks for a later start date, and increased flexibility regarding the times and days of practices.

“GOTR has made several modifications to the program to ensure the health and safety of coaches and participants,” said Carrie Johnson, Executive Director of Girls on the Run of Lancaster and Lebanon. “By following current COVID-19 guidelines, GOTR is confident girls will be able to join a team and experience the much-needed positive encouragement from their peers and trained coaches. Serving girls and meeting their social, emotional, and physical needs are so important to their futures, especially during this time when it is needed most.”

The two choices for the fall 2020 programs are in-person/virtual hybrid teams or virtual-only teams. For in-person/virtual hybrid teams, locations such as parks, community centers, churches, and schools will be used as meeting places for social distancing purposes. The teams will meet two times per week and can choose to meet up to four times per week. The team sizes have been minimized to only six to twelve girls per team with two coaches. There will be 16 GOTR lessons during the season.

Read More: Girls on the Run launches GOTR at Home

Virtual only teams give participants the chance to meet virtually through video conferencing. Both school-based virtual teams and open enrollment virtual teams are offered. The teams will be limited to 12 girls per team with two coaches and will meet twice a week for eight weeks. The meetings will last 45 minutes and will include games referring to the lesson, team discussions, activities in the Girl Journal, and physical activity.

Each participant will receive their own bag to carry a “Girl Journal” for the practices, as well as hand sanitizer, markers and pens.

“In the event of unexpected or planned closures, GOTR will be able to quickly shift in-person program to virtual practices,” Johnson said. “Coaches will be provided with specific resources, training, and support to prepare them to seamlessly deliver the program virtually. With alternative and flexible programming now available, we continue the GOTR commitment to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident.”

This year’s fall virtual 5K is presented by Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster. The 5K will take place on Nov. 20, 21, and 22, and will involve both smaller events in-person and virtually. For more information on the race and to register for the 5K, click here.

Registration is now open for the fall programs and the season starts on Monday, Sept. 21. To register, click here.

In addition to the fall programs this year, GOTR plans to offer a free virtual screening and post-viewing dialogue of the 2017 documentary, Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety

Angst is a film that focuses on what it’s like to have anxiety and the struggles that go along with the symptoms of it in everyday life. Angst presents interviews with young people who suffer, or have suffered, from anxiety and what their personal experiences entail. The film also includes an interview with the famous athlete, Michael Phelps.

“This film and subsequent panel is for everyone, we all have some level of anxiety in our lives and can learn so much from this documentary,” Johnson said. “The film helps normalize the conversation and gives us a platform for talking about our own personal experiences with anxiety. At GOTR we provide a safe space for girls to connect emotionally, socially and physically.”

The 56 minute screening will be available from Thursday, Oct. 8 at 7:00 p.m. through Sunday, Oct. 11 at 11:30 p.m. On Oct. 8 from 7:00 p.m to 8:45 p.m., a screening will take place and afterward there will be a virtual dialogue with psychologists and experts.

“With the limitations the pandemic has put on gathering and thus, meeting in-person with many of our girls, we feel strongly that providing the platform for conversation around anxiety and what all children and adults are feeling right now is one of the most impactful things we can do as an organization,” Johnson said. “Anxieties of the uncertainty and unknown are running high for both adults and children. “

The sponsors who made this event possible include The Ellenberg- Herr Team at Merrill Lynch, Jay Group, Hershey Retirement Solutions, Kreamer Funeral Home, LCCF, Hinkle Insurance, and Eden Park Pediatric Group
The screening tickets are free and are now available. For more information about the event and to register for tickets, click here.

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