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Updated: Jul 13, 2018

On the first day of Fit Girls, we discussed the importance of safety and feeling secure in our space. We talked about physical safety while running, but we also talked about feeling safe emotionally. We talked about being kind to one another and supporting and sharing compassion with one another while at Fit Girls. I always tell the girls, “Kindness goes a long way.” We actually communicate a happy thought (happy thoughts are distributed every session) that reads “kindness is contagious, pass it on”. I really think that we try to model kindness in a way that encourages girls to be supportive of one another while running. Many times, I will say to the girls, “find a new friend and run with that person” or while playing the compliment game I will say,” write something nice that inspires you about that person on their page”. I watched these girls this fall and spring cheer each other on as we played relay games. It did not matter who win a group, the support was there for each member. In Fit Girls, modeling kindness helps the girls achieve a greater self-confidence. Our volunteers mentor and inspire these girls to be kind. As part of this, we also talked about self- caring; taking care of ourselves; and modeling kindness not only to others, but also yourself. It goes along with our purpose of promoting a healthy and active lifestyle for young girls including regular exercise for the body, the mind and the heart. Our girls hear about making healthy choices which shows how we care about our bodies, minds and hearts. Seeing the girls cheer on Fit Girl "friends and acquaintances" at the recent 5K made me realize, we must be doing something right. These girls shared their enthusiasm and excitement with each other. The girls who finished the run sooner, met the girls still running near the finish line and shared high fives. It was such a pleasure to watch. These girls really know that kindness matters.

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Updated: Jul 13, 2018

When summer time rolls around, I think about being near water, enjoying the longer days, and early morning runs. These runs are the best. I love the silence in the woods, the stillness of the lake and the chance to see what nature has to offer. I feel as though my heart and feet are following a path to positive thinking and healthy attitudes. I love the sounds of crunchy pine needles under my running shoes; I love the loons saying good morning to one another; and I love the chance to run with no traffic and a peacefulness on the road. Sometimes I do this alone, but I always welcome the friendship of another runner.

Fit Girls Summer Camp begins next week and although it is not at 5:30 am, it is just as exciting every morning. The camp allows the girls to discover, create, and run! Yoga stretches, happy thoughts, collecting running bracelets, challenging minds with a great book and did I mention the friendships. Oh, the friendships evolve and support for one another grows at each of our camps. Our girls are taught early on in our programs that running may or may not be their thing but creating a space that is healthy is especially important as they move forward toward the middle school years. So just as I love the silence in the woods, I love the chatter of girls meeting one another for the first time. Just like I love the stillness of the lake, I love to watch girls maneuver a creative project together. Just like I love watching what nature has to offer, it is inspiring to see the girls challenge themselves in a new outdoor experience learning about the possibilities in creating a photo portfolio around our book theme, “Half A Chance”.

Just like in our after school Fit Girls, running in the summer gives us all a chance to stretch our minds, challenge our bodies and maybe find a new friend. Sometimes running allows us to see things for the first time or no matter how many times one has run by a familiar site, it looks different in the summer morning light. Whatever reasons there are to run, our eyes are open a little wider and a little more inquisitive in the summer. Soak up all that we are so lucky to have around us here in Maine!

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