OXFORD – What would you say to a program that would help preteen girls to see through sexist advertising, make them feel good about themselves and be more health conscious, both physically and emotionally? Too good to be true? Well, it exists. It’s called “Girls On The Run,” and it’s now being offered in the Oxford Middle School.
Alicia Lobdell heard about the non-profit program “Girls On The Run” (GOTR) in Otsego County. She felt so passionate about it that she contacted the GOTR council director Paula Huntsman so that she could start up her own program in Oxford. Alicia, the volunteer coach, is the driving force of the Oxford GOTR. She sold the idea to the school and to the Middle School’s physical education teacher and JV/Varsity track coach, Irene DeJager. Together, they started the 10-week, after-school prevention program in April. Alicia followed guidelines that encourage her fifth through eighth grade girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through activities such as running, playing games and discussing important issues. Some of the emphasis is on being a girl of your word, understanding positive/negative behaviors, and healthy eating (not dieting). Three key points of the curriculum are: To get to know each other, to come together as a team and for the girls to understand their place in the community. The girls talk about the concept of the different communities they are a part of and also design their own community service project. The girls will be challenged and encouraged as they prepare for an end-of-season 5K run/walk event.