Starting a Program


The Wilmington Family YMCA provides almost everything needed to operate Girls on the Run and STRIDE. The program is run by volunteers and cost nothing for the school/organization to administer. To start a new site follow these simple steps:


STEP 1: Identify a site. Girls on the Run and STRIDE can be offered at schools, parks, YMCA's, Boys and Girls Clubs, churches or similar venues. The program location is responsible for:


  • Completing a site application and return it to the Wilmington Family YMCA.
  • Providing a volunteer "site liaison" - contact person at the site to coordinate with the Wilmington Family YMCA. The liaison can be a staff member, teacher, principal, PTA president, parent and/or interested member of that particular community.
  • Providing a safe place for running. This does not have to be a track. A field is fine. However, there would be a need to measure off part of the area for occasions when lessons require running a certain distance, e.g. 1 mile, 5k, etc.
  • Providing an indoor location for times when there is inclement weather (preferably a gym, but an auditorium or classroom is sufficient)
  • Determining how many teams (a team is 8 - 15 kids) you'd like to offer.
  • Choosing two days a week for meeting. We meet for 90 minutes each day.
  • Recruiting two volunteer coaches for every team of 8 - 15 kids. Coaches do not to have be runners.
  • Arranging an information meeting and/or distribute information for students and families prior to registration deadline to answer questions and encourage registration.
  • Assisting in marketing the program in your community
  • Providing at least one volunteer for race day, not including running buddies.
  • Encouraging parents, teachers, and other staff to train for the 5k race.

To Download Site Application click here. Site application is due to the Wilmington Family YMCA by August 13, 2012.


STEP 2: Identify Coaches. Acting as a Girls on the Run or STRIDE coach is time intensive yet extremely rewarding volunteer opportunity. All coaches are trained by The Wilmington Family YMCA and are provided with a well-developed, well-researched curriculum, which has been used successfully across the country. There is no fee for the Girls on the Run or STRIDE training. Coaches are also provided a box containing all lesson materials. Again, GOTR requires a minimum of two coaches per team to attend each practice.


We require two coaches for each team of 8 - 15 kids. Many of our sites have more than one team.


At least one coach at each site must be CPR and first aid certified. Girls on the Run and STRIDE of Coastal Carolina provides CPR and first aid training and certification through the Wilmington Family YMCA. The fee for CPR training is $20. There is no fee for GOTR & STRIDE training.


Volunteer coaches are required to prepare for and supervise 90 minute lessons, twice a week, in a manner consistent with the GOTR & STRIDE philosophy and curricula. GOTR & STRIDE coaches are required to attend and support their team at the culminating 5k event.


Families, teachers and administrators are welcome to attend the lessons and assist the coaches, offer encouragement, participate in games and run with the girls. Often families help with snack, planning the mock 5k, the community service project and end of season celebration.


Click here for responsibilities of coaches.


To download coaching/volunteer application click here.


STEP THREE: Complete all paperwork. Every program site is provided with program materials and registration forms/parent handouts. Depending on the registration process your teams picks for the program, the Site Liaison is responsible for:


Teams with online registration


Step 1: Site Application- (Site application needs to be submitted each season (even if you are a repeating site)

Step 2: Attend Coach Training - Start marketing the program at your approved site with parent handouts from the YMCA. Update to fit your school/site and county dues dates

Step 3: Registration opens online- coach observes roster on sportoften.com

Step 4: Registration closes- Coach looks over final roster from sportoften.com (an excel roster of your team will be sent the following day)


Teams with paper registration

Step 1: Site Application - (Site application needs to be submitted each season (even if you are a repeating site)

Step 2: Attend Coach Training - Start marketing the program at your approved site with parent handouts from the YMCA. Update to fit your school/site and county due dates

Step 3: Coach collects:

  • registration/health forms
  • payments
  • financial assistance documentation
  • complete roster

Step 4: Turn all forms and payments to the Wilmington Family YMCA by county season due date.


STEP FOUR: Have a great season! Our program culminates with the 5k event. We encourage as much site involvement in this event as possible. Families, teachers, administrators and community members are welcome to come out and walk, run, and cheer the girls on!