To celebrate Mothers’ Day, my mom and I went to a Girl Power Super Party. Girls on the Run of Puget Sound throws these incredible bashes twice a year. I’m sure you’re imagining fundraising galas or volunteer appreciation events, but the Girl Power Super Party isn’t about adults: it’s an integral part of the program. It’s also known as the Girls on the Run 5k.
Feel like a bait and switch? A run (rain or shine) doesn’t sound like a Super Party to you? I can see where your trepidation comes from, but the Girls on the Run 5k really is one of the best parties of the year. Here’s why:
1. It’s multi-generational
I thought being a running buddy with my mom would be fun because it would mean three generations of women would be outside, supporting each other, and running together: my mom (the boomer), myself (the millennial), and the girls we were assigned to run with (3rd through 5th graders). I didn’t realize that the girls would bring their entire families. The girl I ran with had her mom, her dad, her grandma, her uncles AND her baby cousin there to cheer her on.
Powerful Voices’s Girlvolution conference got me thinking about how important intergenerational partnerships are to youth development. Adult allies supported teen girls who crafted and delivered presentations on issues they care about. The girls were insightful and eloquent, and the adults in the room had to sit back, rather than telling the youth what to do.
Girls on the Run 5k created a similar environment for elementary school aged girls: It brought many generations together to support girls in tackling a challenge they have been preparing to take on for months. The adults saw what the girls were capable of, and the girls got support as they achieve their goals.
2. It involves the whole community.
Magnuson Park was absolutely packed with families, girls, volunteers, dogs, and runners. Anyone can sign up for the 5k as a runner, anyone can cheer a girl on, and being a Running Buddy is one of the easiest, most-rewarding volunteer experiences out there.
The amazing thing is that Girls on the Run doesn’t just welcome everyone from our diverse community, it invites them in. Looking around before the run started, I was amazed by the diversity of the participants, families, and volunteers. I have spent A LOT of time studying the demographic make-up of King County, and (with no statistisc to back me up) I can say that this event looked like it reflected the diversity of the community. This is a HUGE win.
3. Girls are at the Center
When two girls got up on the stage after the race and started dancing, no one shoo’ed them away. I watched as more and more girls climbed up to join them until the stage was full of girls from a variety of schools dancing the Cupid Shuffle and singing “Let It Go” from Frozen. The adults watched in awe as the girls rocked out.
The entire event was geared toward celebrating girls. Athleta had a station for families to make signs to support their runners, a sorority did a crazy hair station that left girls beaming, and families lined the start and finish lines to create a tunnel of cheering fans. How often are third and fourth grade girls truly at the center of anything? At a Girl Power Super Party, they are the stars.
If you missed Saturday’s 5k, do not despair! The next Girl Power Super Party is just around the corner (well, in December) and there will be lots of ways to participate. Girls on the Run needs Coaches, Running Buddies, and On-Call Volunteers to make the party happen. If you want a taste of the fun (and you can’t wait until December) you can join SoleMates: their running and philanthropy club for adults.
However you decide to get involved, I hope to see you in December at the next Girl Power Super Party!