I have been a runner since 1987. But, I became a running coach in 2010 when I had the idea to start a run club for youth. As the Community Chair for the Junior League of Halifax I was able to champion a particular cause. So with the full support of the Junior League of Halifax (an organization of women in Halifax Regional Municipality that volunteer to develop and deliver effective, impactful projects for over 85 years in the community) and through a partnership with the East Dartmouth Boys and Girls Club we were literally off to the races. Those first run clubs trained for a couple of Benny Bulldog Race Weekends (est. 2010).
That experience was so much fun for me because I absolutely love running and as it turns out, I also loved working with youth. But, I noticed something that seemed strange to me. The boys were very happy to race each other, to take the lead and generally behaved much more confidently than the girls. Many practices I found myself racing the boys but I never once raced a girl. Of course the workouts were never meant to be about getting to a finish line first, but the boys always wanted to race. But where were the girls? It got me thinking and then I began really watching how the boys and girls acted differently at run practice. I wanted the girls to be as confident as the boys and I had an idea how to insure they were.
So in 2011 with the help of grants from the East Dartmouth Community Health Board and armed with what I learned about coaching through that Junior League Run Club, I started Girls Gone Gazelle Run Club (“GGG”). The club has always been entirely free to its participants with no charge for uniforms, running shoes (when needed), track fees, race fees, insurance, etc. Our club motto is “I don’t chase boys, I pass them!” and we train confidence as much as we train running. Our club trains three different sessions of girls each year (spring, summer and fall) and we have been able to keep it free since that initial funding thanks to the financial support of Sole Sisters Women’s Race.
Are you noticing a theme here? It is WOMEN (Junior League of Halifax, Sole Sisters Race participants) that have supported this amazing confidence club for girls 9-13. And guess what? We are so pleased to announce that through the generosity of Amber MacInnis & Associates Inc – The Co-operators we now have our first 2019 COMMUNITY CHAMPION that has sponsored the cost of our insurance for the club.
This winter, when it was time to renew our annual GGG insurance policy I asked Amber to help us to find us a better policy and hopefully at a better rate than what we were paying with another insurance company over the years. Well imagine my surprise when Amber did just that and then offered to support us through sponsoring our insurance cost. Wow, that was better than I could have imagined or hoped for!
As a not-for-profit, staffed entirely by volunteers, every cost to our curriculum has an impact to the amount of programming we are able to offer. A club free to participants is not actually free; we still have all the costs of those other programs that you pay to join. With Amber and her team’s amazing generosity we have one less bill to stress over. And she’s given us an idea. Instead of relying solely on Sole Sisters and its supporters to support GGG (because have you noticed that less people are racing than they were a few years ago) we are going to ask for more COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS. That means YOU can help us too.
Thank you MacInnis & Associates Inc – The Co-operators, of course it took a woman to give us another great idea! If you’d like to help, please contact us for more information about how to be a COMMUNITY CHAMPION.
P.S. Learn more about the Junior League of Halifax here!