(Editor’s note:Last names of students involved in the Girls on the Run and Stride programs are not being used at the request of program administrators in Wilmington.)
Hobbton Elementary School students are working up a sweat after school in two programs designed around team building, enhancing self-esteem and giving students strength in their bodies and minds.
Brent Rivenbark, a teacher at the school, is working with three other staff members to get these kids moving more.
Girls on the Run is geared towards girls in the third through eighth grade and their mission is to “educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living”. The other half of the program, Stride, is geared towards boys, with a focus on encouraging them to exhibit excellence in character.
The students meet after school twice a week for about an hour and half, and they are preparing to compete in a 5k that will be in Wilmington on Saturday, May 17 called OrthoWilmington.
“This is our first year doing this,” said Rivenbark in a telephone interview. “Lori Monk mentioned it to me, about trying and starting it.” Rivenbark said he quickly knew it was something he wanted to get involved with and that the program would benefit the students.
“Lori Monk is the head coach for the Girls on the Run,” said Rivenbark. “Kathy Williamson is her assistant coach.” Rivenbark is the coach for the boys’ team, Stride, and his assistant coach is Lori Herring.
“I like Girls on the Run,” said Jane, one of the students who runs after school. “I get to talk to different people and I get to learn how to run.”
“We have run in the hallways or the gym at school, plus outside on the campus,” said Rivenbark. “There are also games that are incorporated into the program.” He said that even if it is raining they still have practice somewhere.
“We have confidence and character building exercises,” Rivenbark added. “Exercises about things like how to handle a bully.” The program follows a set curriculum, and it is an outreach through the Wilmington YMCA. The YMCA operates Girls on the Run of Coastal Carolina which is part of Girls on the Run International. The international program has over 174 locations in the United States and Canada according to their website. The Coastal Carolin program covers a ten county area including Sampson, Columbus, Brunswick, Pender, Onslow, Jones, New Hanover, Craven and Carteret. Stride was created in 2010 after Girls on the Run.
“It’s about positive reinforcement through curriculum,” detailed Rivenbark. When they meet they discuss the last time they met, and then go over their objectives for the day. The students huddle around and then go warm up.
“We start our activity, which is whatever game that involves the message for the day,” Rivenbark explained, mentioning that each day always revolves around a lesson for the students.
“My favorite thing is the games,” added Bradley. “I’ve learned about friendship and the bad effects of alcohol. It’s cool that we are learning about things in a fun way.”
The Girls on the Run program focuses on the girls’ development, going into detail about their physical, spiritual, mental and emotional well-being. Topics that are covered include gossiping, drugs, sportsmanship, gratitude, and community.
“I like it,” said Makayla. “I’ve learned things like never give up. We’ve learned to take out the negative and replace it with the positive.”
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.