Last year, Quaker Hill Elementary School Psychologist Kristina Kenyon had a student who was unconfident and insecure because of her weight. But instead of allowing the student to feel sorry for herself, Kenyon decided they would do something about it.
So Kenyon organized Fit Club, a group of female students who would meet once a week after school to run. The first year 20 girls joined, finishing the program by running the Quaker Hill 5K.
This year, Fit Club has exploded. Forty-five fourth- and fifth-grade girls (out of 75 total) have joined the club, all of whom gave it rave reviews. Again, they meet once a week for 12 weeks to run, and then Sunday they will again participate in the Quaker Hill 5K.
“I’m really proud of how many girls joined,” Kenyon said. “It isn’t just about fitness, or winning; it is about building self-esteem and teaching the girls about goals.”
Principal Glenda Dexter, who also participates in the program, agreed.
“The fitness is the bonus,” Dexter said. “What it has established is a real sense of community that isn’t just happening Tuesday afternoons. This is carrying over throughout the week.”
A Day At Fit Club
Tuesday, Patch attended the last Fit Club meeting of the year, six days before the road race. It started with Kenyon asking the children what they need to do while running the race.
“You have to pace yourself, or else you are going to get really really sweaty and feel really really bad,” Sophia Murphy answered, correctly.
And what are you going to think about during the race, Kenyon asked.
“If you ever start to give up on yourself just think of all the food that’s going to be at the end,” one girl answered.
Then the girls exchanged ideas to stay motivated. One suggested pretending that you are running to each individual mailbox on the road, to see what’s inside. And if there isn’t a mailbox, pretend the telephone pole in front has something special about it, she said.
After the talk, the girls all stretched and got ready to run. Then they all lined up just outside the school, and took off for 45 minutes.
“When we first did this we did 15 minutes walk or run,” Kenyon said. “Now we do it for 45 minutes.”
The girls came back, most of them running the entire way. All seemed excited, and were eager to discuss the program.
“My favorite part is the running, although there is a rushing side of me that wants to get to the end,” Isla McPhail said. “There’s a tired part of me, that’s all.”
Alyana Cyr, meanwhile, preferred the camaraderie.
“I like running with friends, because they can encourage you,” she said. “It makes it easier.”