Written by Kristen:
Girls on the Run has been a very important part of my life for many years. I was so happy to have my wonderful CHRC friends come out to volunteer on June 5 at an event that means so much to me. The girls had spent 12 weeks working with their coaches not only on training for the 5k, but also talking about issues like healthy relationships, nutrition, goal setting, body image, and a whole host of other topics. The day of the 5k was a culmination of all of their hard work.
When I returned to New York I wanted to bring all of my experience working at Girls on the Run-Chicago and with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon to do anything I could to help the New York City council of Girls on the Run. I already knew that Allison, the Executive Director of GOTR-NYC (and fellow CHRC club member!) was a fantastic woman and had become a good friend, so this was a no-brainer.
Other CHRC volunteers can tell you about setting up flags for each of the schools that were represented that day, handing out medals to girls as they crossed the finish line (how can you not shed a tear watching this?), biking the course to make sure it is clear before the start (love you hubby!), and how their hands got sore from giving high fives to girls and their running buddies. Truly, there is no other event like this and I would encourage anyone to come out to experience the next 5k (in December, date and location to be announced soon).
My background in race operations and emergency management means I often work on the invisible aspects of event planning, and that’s where I’ve focused much of my time with GOTR-NYC.
Here are just a few things that Allison and GOTR staff and I focused on in the weeks and days before the event:
- Are the instructions for the many volunteers written as clearly as they can be?
- What is the evacuation plan for Roosevelt Island in case of emergency?
- What’s the best way to set up the barricades at the start line to ensure a clear flow of runners?
- Who is buying the airhorn for the start? (Me, from Amazon, $10.51)
- The forecast is calling for REALLY heavy rain and lightning, when/how do we decide to cancel if necessary?
Here are a few situations discussed/handled the morning of the event:
– The ambulance team is late, find out where they are. Turns out they had gone to Randall’s Island instead of Roosevelt Island. But they got to Roosevelt before the runners started!
– Wow, we got the extra fancy port-o- potties delivered because the company had already sent out all of their standard ones to other locations. Hope people don’t get too used to this!
– The bike marshal has reported that there’s some glass on the course at Mile 2 that has to be cleaned up before the start.
– A neighbor is complaining that the music is too loud. (Party. Pooper.)
Super sexy, right? But I love it. And no matter what volunteer job you might get at this event, you will know that you are helping young girls to have a life experience that teaches them that they are strong and capable.
I’ll end with what is often written on the back of the medals that girls receive at the finish “I have the power to believe in myself. To stand up for who I am. To say “yes” to a challenge. To cheer on new friends. TO GROW UP STRONG.”
Cue Kristen crying…
To be a part of the CHRC Community Engagement Committee, contact Aliza by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org