Frequently Asked Questions

Learn the answers to some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about our program.


What is Girls on the Run?

Girls on the Run is an after school program that uses the power of running to help prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. Through interactive activities such as running and playing games to discuss important issues, participants learn how to celebrate being girls. The girls also train together to walk or run in a 5K (3.1 mile) event.


What does Girls on the Run do?

One girl put it this way, “I learned that I am the boss of my brain.” Helping girls take charge of their lives and define the future on their terms. You can also think of it as Can University—a place where girls learn that they can. No limits. No constraints. Only opportunities to be remarkable.


How do we play a role in girls’ lives?

Lots of ways, but we start with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them. Then we look at the role of teams and healthy relationships. And, finally, we explore how girls can positively connect with and shape the world. And remember, we believe that life-changing experiences can be fun too—for everyone—the girls, coaches, families and other volunteers. So don’t be surprised when you hear laughter along with self-reflection and see beaming smiles across the beautiful, confident faces of our girls.


How many girls do you serve annually?

Approximately 3,000 girls from Vermont participate in Girls on the Run or Heart & Sole each year.


Where are locations for the program?

Girls on the Run currently serves approximately 140 schools, recreation departments and community organizations across Vermont. See our Sites by County for locations currently offering programs.


Whom does the program serve?

Girls on the Run of serves girls in grades 3-5.  Heart & Sole serves girls in grades 6-8.


When does the program start?

Programs are offered in the spring beginning in March and ending in mid-May/early June.


How often does the program meet?

Teams meet twice a week, typically after school, over the course of 10-12 weeks. The program does not meet on days that schools closed due to weather or holidays.


How long is each session?

The sessions are 90 minutes long.


Can you describe a typical session?

Each session focuses on a specific issue-related topic, which is incorporated into the activities and games planned for the lesson. The coaches begin the lesson by introducing and explaining the day’s topic. The girls then warm up their muscles with a brief interactive running activity or game. Then, the girls stretch and further discuss how the activity related to the topic. Next, the girls perform the workout, which primarily consists of running laps but also integrates the topic of the day. For example, the girls may have to answer questions about the day’s topic each time they complete a lap. The lesson ends with stretching, reviewing what the girls learned that day, and a group cheer.


Why the young age?

Studies show that girls between the ages of eight and fourteen are still receptive to adult influence, while beginning to feel peer pressure. It’s an age psychologists call the latency period of development when girls begin to confront important life and relationship issues. As a prevention program, Girls on the Run initiates healthy decision-making about difficult issues and really talking to their parents/caretakers before it’s too late. In addition, learning healthy exercise habits early in life increases the chances that participants will value their own physical fitness as adults. Recent studies show that only those who develop exercise habits in their teen years or earlier are likely to maintain those habits for life. It’s well documented that regular, moderate exercise improves cardiovascular functioning, and reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, osteoporosis (brittle bones), and obesity. In addition, girls of this age are more open to positive influences of peers and adult role models, as well as the core aspects of the GOTR program that help empower girls to develop physical, emotional and social well-being.


Can my daughter repeat the program?

Yes! Each of our curricula were designed to be used over and over again, with girls new to the program and with girls repeating the program. We also know that what a child experiences and learns in Girls on the Run as a third grader is quite different from what she learns as a fourth or fifth grader. With repetition, the depths of learning and the ability of a girl to apply what she learns at each lesson is greater.

Within Girls on the Run, we now alternate between three curricula each year, so our girls experience similar topics with different activities and games from one year to the next. And with that experience, returning girls often naturally step into mentoring and leadership roles with the younger girls.


Who delivers the program?

Each session is led by trained coaches that volunteer their time to guide and mentor girls through a fun and uplifting program. Coaches are trained in the GOTR curriculum, undergo a background check, and are First Aid/CPR certified.


Do girls have to be runners?

No! Girls on the Run is for EVERYONE – even those who don’t like to run. The program is non-competitive and focuses on developing healthy, positive self-images in the participants. Girls are encouraged to walk or run the laps during the workouts, and all girls progress at their own speed.


Do coaches have to be runners?

No! Anyone with a desire to work with girls of this age group, and enjoys physical exercise is welcome to apply to be a volunteer coach. See the Coach description on our Be a Coach page.


What does the program cost?

The current program fee in $80. It cost Girls on the Run Vermont $150 per girl, but we subsidize the first $70 through grants and fundraising. Additionally we make available a limited number of scholarships. In 2015 we provided over $180,000 in scholarships and subsidies!


What does the program fee include?

The program fee includes the following items:

  • Research-based curriculum- 20-24 lessons, 2 days a week, 90 minutes/lesson
  • Trained and background checked coaches
  • Grown Up Guide
  • Program Shirt
  • Program supplies and handouts
  • End-of-season celebration & certificate
  • 5k entry


How do I sign up and register a participant?

First, check with your GOTR/H&S aged girl. Program flyers will be distributed, generally in late January/mid-February, detailing site-specific registration information.

The majority of sites participate in online registration which is found on our Girl Registration webpage. The online registration links are categorized by the 5k the site is attending (Southern, Central, and Northern). You will need to refer to the flyer sent home to your daughter in order to know which 5k your site is attending. If the program is facilitated through an After School Program or Recreation Department, contact them for information on how to register.


Why are programs limited?

Our programs are most effective with 15 to 20 girls since much of the GOTR curriculum is designed to foster team dynamics and active participation in the lessons. We also need to ensure the size of the group is manageable for our coaches. Sites that have more than the maximum number of girls who want to join the program may consider multiple programs if space and resources allow.


How do I start a GOTR Team?

If there is no GOTR/H&S team at your school or nearby, you can start one. Each team requires a minimum of 8 participants and two coaches per site. A site is usually a school, but can also be a community center or other location with facilities suitable for a running program. For more information, see our Start a Site webpage.


Is it safe for young girls to run the 5K (3.1 mile) distance?

“Children’s bodies are well suited for endurance exercise, and numerous studies have shown that children show many positive physiological adaptation to endurance exercise training. The keys are gradual progression and common-sense adult supervision. If those conditions are met, running 3 miles is a reasonable goal for most young people, “says Russell R. Pate, Ph.D., with the Department of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina. The girls are not pressured to run, rather they are encouraged to run or walk according to their current level of fitness with emphasis on improving endurance and form.


How can I help besides coaching?

There are many ways you can help support Girls on the Run of Vermont. To make our three 5ks possible, we depend on our amazing volunteers. Check out the Volunteering webpage to sign up for one of the many different tasks associated with the 5k. Become or support a Sole Mate, or consider making an online donation using your credit card to support the Girls on the Run Vermont mission.

When word got out that there was a group of young girls running around the nation together, challenging themselves every week to grow stronger as athletes and as people, and approaching their goals with focus, passion and grace, there was no question: ASICS had to hop on their path and run right alongside them.

ASICS was founded on the humble idea that sports have the power to transform lives and bring communities together through the universal language of movement. Nearly sixty years later, the synergies between this fundamental company vision and the mission of Girls On the Run has inspired ASICS to become the exclusive National Footwear Sponsor for the organization. By offering footwear, hosting local chapter events and providing on-going financial contributions to the program, ASICS is thrilled support their lifetime journey toward a happier, healthier and more balanced life through running.

ASICS is a leading performance and fitness lifestyle brand, offering footwear, apparel and accessories built for an active and healthy lifestyle. Comprised of a passionate team of innovators, designers, athletes and adventurers, ASICS strives to create stylish and versatile products that inspire enjoyment in every possible active pursuit, from running and training, to yoga and adventure-seeking. ASICS products are available globally in select retail locations and online at asics.com.

SmartWool is a National 5k Partner and the official sock of the Girls on the Run 5k Series. Based in Steamboat Springs, CO, SmartWool is an apparel brand whose products are inspired by living and playing in the mountains. SmartWool upholds strong values around high performance products, conscience business ethics and affecting a positive change in the world through volunteer service and their SmartWool Advocacy Fund. They believe that the future of the planet rests on healthy, active kids. That’s why their Advocacy Fund supports Girls on the Run and other organizations committed to getting kids outside through responsible recreational opportunities.

Cigna is proud to be the exclusive health care sponsor of Girls on the Run. The company’s mission is to help people improve their health, well-being and sense of security, and child wellness is a key part of that mission. Girls on the Run was named the first recipient of the Cigna Foundation’s World of Difference Grants, a program that awards funding to nonprofits that are committed to improving health equity in the area’s of children’s wellness, senior care and women’s health. The grant has enabled Girls on the Run to increase the number of participants in the program throughout the United States and potentially expand the program internationally. With support from Cigna, Girls on the Run will also distribute more than 200 scholarships to girls at schools across the country allowing them to participate in the program and the celebratory 5K runs.

A global health service company headquartered in Bloomfield, Conn., Cigna has 35,000 employees worldwide, many of whom volunteer with Girls on the Run. To learn more about Cigna, including links to follow the company on Facebook and Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.

Gamma Phi Beta Sorority is the exclusive National Panhellenic Conference Girls on the Run National Sponsor. Our philanthropic focus, Building Strong Girls, gives girls the confidence to dream big. We inspire the female leaders of tomorrow. For nearly a century, Gamma Phi Beta has committed to improving the lives of young girls by not only building stronger girls but stronger communities through them. As a National Sponsor, Gamma Phi Beta Sorority provides support to Girls on the Run through financial contributions at the local and international level and hands-on local support from our extensive and passionate membership throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The Sorority’s mission is to inspire the highest type of womanhood. Headquartered in Centennial, Colorado, the Sorority has chartered more than 180 collegiate chapters across the United States and Canada, and has more than 195,000 collegiate and alumnae members worldwide.

FOX Sports Supports is a program of FOX Sports dedicated to serving the nonprofit community. They understand that with great success comes great recognition and even greater responsibility. Giving back is not only important to the program but to its employees. In 2016 FOX Sports Supports will dedicate time, money and resources to Girls on the Run through a variety of support including PSA’s, in game graphics, event activations, talent involvement and more.

Thirty-One Gifts is one of the world’s largest direct-selling companies, committed to celebrating, encouraging and rewarding others for who they are, offering purses, wallets, totes, home organization solutions, jewelry and more. With a mission to help women by giving them the opportunity to own their own business, we are a company with a compassionate heart, comprised of a family of individuals who share a passion for building confident girls and women. Through our charitable program, Thirty-One Gives, we have a commitment to changing the alarming statistic that a girl’s self-esteem peaks at the age of 9. We are excited to support Girls on the Run and work together to change that statistic and build confident girls.