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Girls running in the field.

Girls on the Run gives young girls a safe place to exercise, learn leadership skills, and feel empowered.

Girls on the Run

Burnsville, NC

Yancey County

With Girls on the Run, physical activity meets self-empowerment in a twice-a-week afterschool program for elementary and middle school aged girls. Girls on the Run is a 10-week program that teaches responsibility, self-confidence, teamwork, and emotional health to girls ages 8 to 13.


In addition to life skills, participants also train for a 5k run at the end of the program. Each site that has a Girls on the Run program is called a chapter, and each chapter belongs to a regional council. Most Girls on the Run chapters operate out of schools and are taught by volunteer coaches, teachers or community member volunteers. Each chapter needs 2 coaches present at each meeting and most chapters have 4 coaches total. In North Carolina, there are 7 Girls on the Run councils covering the state from the mountains to the coast.


It takes about $7,500 to start your own council, so consider joining an existing council first and simply starting a chapter at your church, school, or local organization. Hosting a chapter at a local school or church can keep the program rent-free as well. Every local council sets the registration fee to join the program and run in the 5k and each council also offers a scholarship program for those who need it. The 10-week program for each chapter costs about $1,000-$2,000 to cover materials and program fees.


Girls on the Run was started in Charlotte, North Carolina and is now impacting young girls across the country. It’s a low-cost way to get active and help young girls develop important life skills.

Starting either a Girls on the Run chapter or council can be done in your own town with a little bit of funding, a safe space to hold the program, and enthusiastic volunteers. The 7 councils in North Carolina cover most of the counties across the state. Since it’s much more affordable to join a council, consider starting a chapter. If there isn’t a council close to your community, you can team up with other schools or organizations that also want to start a council to joint fundraise. The Girls on the Run website provides tips on partnering with local businesses to get sponsorship and financial support to help with annual funding costs. Schools are the ideal place to hold a Girls on the Run chapter because of their outdoor and indoor running spaces. Make sure the adult volunteers are as excited about the program as the kids are. Your volunteer coaches can be teachers, parents, local college students, or other community volunteers.




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