In June, three Pennsylvania Girls on the Run councils were selected from among more than 200 nationally to form a "Young and Strong" Council Collaborative Alliance.
The alliance met at Girls on the Run International Headquarters in?Charlotte, North Carolina, at the historic Duke Mansion. The three Pennsylvania councils selected were the Greater Susquehanna Valley, Lancaster and capital area.
Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program designed to enhance girls' social, psychological and physical competencies to successfully navigate life experiences.
Teams of 15 girls from third through eighth grade meet after school to learn critical life skills and build physical fitness.
The culminating event is a celebratory 5K where the girls complete with an adult running buddy.
"This was a wonderful opportunity for all of us to connect and collectively plan for the future success of Girls on the Run" said Gillian Byerly, GOTR capital area council director.
The chosen councils were all established within the past five years.
Harnessing the power and potent energy of the small group, the discussions centered around how to sustain ongoing, scalable growth while staying true to the Girls on the Run mission and core values.
"The fact that three PA Girls on the Run Councils were selected is an indication of the strength of the program in our community and the true support to life-changing programs like this," said Carrie Johnson, the Lancaster council director.
"Collectively, our councils provided the program to more than 2,000 girls at over 100 schools and we will already exceed those numbers in the upcoming season," added Cheryl Stumpf who heads the greater Susquehanna Valley council, which is based in Selinsgrove.
"Our exponential growth comes from the communities in which we live. Many parents and care providers have shared how this program has been so timely and has made a significant difference in the development of their girls."
The Young and Strong CCA Cohort is made up of the following regional council directors:
Catherine Gregory; Christy Thomas; Hydie Wahlborg; Jody Braunig; Mary Uran; Katie Joyce; Molly Bailey; Angela Lewis; Carrie Johnson; Cheryl Stumpf; Gillian Byerly; Kathy Barnett.