Editor’s Note: This blog was written and submitted by Vision 2020 Alaska Delegate Teri Tibbett
Last month Girls on the Run-Southeast Alaska hosted its end-of-season 5K run. The Saturday event happened at Twin Lakes Park on a cloudy, typically rainy day in Alaska’s capital city. Girls prepared for and ran along a paved path that borders Twin Lakes at the foot of the Alaska Coastal Mountain Range.
Before the run, the girls and their mentors gathered in a crowd in front of the main pavilion with banners and signs announcing their school and team.
Ati Nasiah, council director and founder of the GOTR-Southeast Alaska council, stood on a bench in costume and rallied cheers and speeches and enthusiasm for the work already done and the accomplishment each girl was about to make.
One by one the teams came to the front where Ati gave accolades and called for comments from the members. After each team had its moment, singer Liz Bognar came forward and led the audience in a song written by a previous GOTR team:
“Do you ever feel like you’re hiding out,
Not telling anyone what you’re all about?
Do you ever feel like giving up,
Wondering how you’ll ever be enough?”
The girls and their mentors sang together a common theme, a call out to stand up, take notice, and be confident. A message of strength and respect and healthy living resounded through the crowd:
“Stand up for yourself and your values
Do your exercise and eat and sleep well
Like a leader you’ll be positive and you’ll show others
What it means to respect yourself and others
Stand up as you are and you’ll be a star…”
The refrain, repeated throughout, inspired each girl to sing out and smile:
“Cuz, baby, you’re a girl on the run
Come on, think what you have learned
Make ‘em go: ‘Oh! Oh! Oh!’
As you race across that line…”
After 12-weeks of training and weekly classes that covered topics ranging from self-image and the media, resisting peer pressure, making healthy decisions, and contributing to the community – the girls gathered at the lakes one more time and celebrated their abilities through the 5K run.
Each took off under the balloon archway and each returned in her own time and pace without any one “winner” and certainly no losers.
The event ended with hugs and cheers and a common look in each girl’s eyes that “I can do anything and anything is possible.”
“Stand up as you are and you’ll be a star.”