“I hate myself.”
Cassidy Wassenaar, a Girls on the Run coach, found this message on one girl’s lap goal card after a long practice.
Concerned, Wassenaar asked her about the message. The little girl explained that it had been a rough day — it was her first time in timeout since kindergarten.
Wassenaar spied the perfect teaching moment. “Hating ourselves is like having a cloud over our head,” she explained. “What can we do instead?”
The girl replied, “Activate our star power!”
Wassenaar helped the girl to find five ways to activate her star power. Star power, a Girls on the Run lesson technique, teaches girls to positively impact their thoughts, feelings and behaviors through visualization. Star power can be used to turn negative self-talk into positive thoughts and feelings.
After activating the runner’s star power, Wassenaar noticed an immediate difference in her runner’s demeanor.
“It was as if a switch just flipped on in this little girl,” Wassenaar said. “She was back to her smiling and bubbly self.”
The little girl approached Wassenaar after practice to tell her how much she loved the Girls on the Run program. Wassenaar left the session feeling like she had truly made a difference.
“I felt as if we should all know that we are doing good things in these little girls’ lives,” Wassenaar said. “Listening and guiding these girls can have a huge impact.”
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About Girls on the Run: Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident through an experience-based running curriculum. We teach life skills through dynamic interactive lessons and running games for girls in grades 3-5. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5K run. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.