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 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 girl 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. All coaches are trained in the GOTR curriculum and taught how to create a safe and fun environment, all undergo a background check, and each team includes at least one coach who is 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 $100. It cost Girls on the Run Vermont $180 per girl, but we subsidize the first $80 through grants and fundraising. Additionally we make available limited financial assistance.


What does the program fee include?

The program fee includes the following items:

  • Research-based curriculum- 20 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.