However, Kayla Clark, Kyonna McPherson and Ceniya Ferguson, all fifth-graders at Holland Elementary School, are the first to tell you just how wrong you would be.
Girls on the Run is a national program for girls ages 8-13 that uses a fun, experience-based curriculum to inspire its members to be more confident, team-oriented and healthy. The curriculum creatively incorporates running into its activities, hence the name Girls on the Run.
Clark, McPherson and Ferguson are veteran members of Holland’s Girls on the Run program, and they serve as ambassadors for the club in their homes, community and school. While each say they love the chance to get out and run, the real importance of Girls on the Run is creating an environment of support, encouragement and positivity for all its members.
“Almost everyone I’ve met from Girls on the Run is confident and really fun,” Clark said. She credited the teambuilding activities and lessons as why that’s the case.
For instance, members must “plug into the positive cord” –an imaginary outlet of sorts where they visualize “sparkles, rainbows and nice things” so they can only be supportive, encouraging and generous to one another.
“Everyone is plugged into the positive cord,” McPherson said. “I can share my feelings and no one would joke or make me feel bad.”
“It’s all about being positive,” Clark added. “We don’t have bad attitudes because that’s not what Girls on the Run is about; it’s about being a friend to everyone.”
However, the positive cord is not just for members to experience. The girls say one of the biggest lessons is sharing that same mentality with everyone.
“We should always be in the positive cord, all the time, and share our joy,” Ferguson added. “How we cooperate in here helps us to cooperate out there…and we make a lot of new friends.”
In an effort to share their joy, the girls recently led a clothing drive for families in need this winter season. The teams not only brought in new and slightly used hats, socks and gloves, but also became a staple on the school’s morning announcements encouraging their classmates to donate as well. Members would then go from classroom to classroom to collect donations from fellow students. By the end, the girls had brought in more than 100 items to donate to local families.
Holland’s Girls on the Run program is one of the more successful in the Beach division. It is so popular the school had to split the program into two teams to accommodate the demand. The success of the program, including the examples of Clark, McPherson and Ferguson, has also inspired the boys in the school to want their own version of the program.The girls say they are ok with the boys following suit. In fact, they hope students everywhere have the same opportunity they have had – especially their friends.
“We’ll tell some of our friends about it and they’ll say, ‘Man, I should have done that,’” Ferguson said.
Compass Keepers Q&A:
What is your favorite book?
Kayla — The Hunger Games
Kyonna — The Warriors
Ceniya — Twilight
What is your favorite subject?
Kayla — Language Arts
Kyonna — Language Arts
Ceniya — Science
Who is your favorite teacher?Why?
Kalya — Ms. Colohan: She’s an advanced teacher and she teaches us new things and really inspires us to be teachers.
Kyonna — Ms. McNulty and Ms. Clifford: Ms. McNulty is really funny and she has good books on her bookshelf. I’m difficult in math, but Ms. Clifford helps me learn new things and I think she’s funny too.
Ceniya — Ms. Carawan: She was really funny. We only had her for a little while, but she made every assignment fun. If we achieved something, she made it a really big deal.
What’s your favorite TV show?
Kayla – Shake It Up
Kyonna – Glee
Ceniya – Hip Hop Harry
Who/what inspires you?
Kayla – Girls on the Run
Kyonna – My grandmother
Ceniya – My mom
*Do you know someone who should be featured as a Compass Keeper? Send your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org.