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Frequently Asked Questions About the Program

What does Girls on the Run do? One girl put it this way, “I learned that I am the boss of my brain.” Helping girls take charge of their lives and define the future on their terms. You can also think of it as “I Can University”—a place where girls learn that they can. No limits. No constraints. Only opportunities to be remarkable.

How do we play a role in our girls’ lives? Lots of ways, but we start with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them. Then we look at the role of teams and healthy relationships. And, finally, we explore how girls can positively connect with and shape the world. And remember, we believe that life-changing experiences can be fun too—for everyone—the girls, coaches, families and other volunteers. So don’t be surprised when you hear laughter along with self-reflection and see beaming smiles across the confident faces of our girls.

What is Girls on the Run? Girls on the Run is an after-school program that combines exercise, education, mentoring and a good dose of “Girl Power” to promote healthy lifestyles and self-respect among third- through sixth-grade girls. An innovative, interactive curriculum incorporates lessons on teamwork, communication, health, self-awareness, goal-setting, body image and standing up for yourself with running games, so participants get much more than exercise. The girls also train together to walk or run in a 5K (3.1 mile) event of their choosing. 

Is GOTR a local or national organization?  Both. GOTR-Nebraska is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established in 2003. We are fully self-funded and pay an annual licensing fee to Girls on the Run International, our parent organization based in Charlotte, N.C. GOTR International oversees a network of 225 GOTR councils across the United States and Canada. 

How many girls do you serve annually? GOTR-Nebraska serves 1,900 girls each school year at nearly 100 sites that span 500 miles across the state. 

When does the program start? Teams in the Lincoln- and Omaha-metro areas start in late August and run through early November. Teams outside the Metro region begin in late February/early March and run through early to mid-May. 

How many girls are on a team? Team size is between 10 and 20 girls, depending on the number of trained coaches and space available at the site. Multiple teams may operate concurrently at a site if space allows and trained coaches are available.  The curriculum was designed for a group this size to facilitate team building and a healthy group dynamic. Teams are subject to minimum and maximum enrollments.

How often does the program meet? Teams meet twice a week (usually Tuesdays and Thursdays) after school during the season. Teams do not meet on days that school is not in session (spring break, snow day, e.g.) or on early-release days.

Can my daughter attend once a week? No. Due to the importance of group dynamics and the experiential learning process of the Girls on the Run curricula, girls who are absent for more than four (4) practices during one season will no longer be eligible to participate in Girls on the Run. It is critically important to the efficacy of the girls’ program experience that they participate in both sessions each week.

How long is each meeting? Meetings run 75 minutes. Check the schedule included on the registration form for details. 

What happens at GOTR meetings? Each meeting focuses on a specific topic, which is incorporated into the activities and games planned for the lesson. The coaches begin the lesson by introducing and explaining the day’s topic. The girls then warm up their muscles with a brief interactive running activity or game. Then, the girls stretch and further discuss how the activity related to the topic. Next, the girls perform the workout, which primarily consists of running laps but also integrates the topic of the day. For example, the girls may have to answer questions about the day’s topic each time they complete a lap. The lesson usually ends with a stretch, a quick review of the day’s topic and a group cheer. 

Who coaches the teams? GOTR-Nebraska coaches are screened and trained volunteers who want to make the world better for girls by promoting a healthy lifestyle and positive attitude. Every coach undergoes a background check every two years, watches online training modules and attends an in-person coach clinic.

How can I volunteer? GOTR-Nebraska relies on an army of positive, can-do volunteers to do a variety of jobs. Opportunities include coaching the program, helping with the 5K, becoming a SoleMates charity runner, and other projects. Visit the "Get Involved" section to learn more. 

Do girls have to be runners? No. Girls on the Run is for everyone  — even those who don’t like to run. The program is noncompetitive and focuses on developing a healthy attitudes and habits. Girls are encouraged to walk or run the laps during the workouts and progress at their own speed in an ultra-positive environment.

What does the program cost? Building confidence and helping girls take the valuable first step toward a lifetime of health and wellness is priceless, but there are real costs associated with operating a nonprofit organization and delivering a program to 1,900 girls across the Heartland each year. Thanks to contributions from community agencies and aggressive fundraising, GOTR tuition ranges between $15 and $80 at sites across the state. Significantly reduced rates are offered at Title 1 schools and for girls with legitimate, documented need. GOTR-Nebraska’s tuition includes: program T-shirt; backpack; curriculum supplies; and insurance. The GOTR 5K package entry (for GOTR girl and her Run Buddy) ranges between $30 and $40 and includes: finisher’s medal for GOTR girls; 5K shirt (if registered by deadline) for GOTR girl and Run Buddy; 5K giveaways. 

Think that’s a great deal? It is! Through the generosity of individuals, corporations, foundations, special events, grants and other projects, we’re able to subsidize more than 40 percent of participants. We appreciate the generosity of parents and others who support GOTR-Nebraska and girls in the area with donations.

GOTR-Nebraska is committed to ensuring the program is affordable and accessible to all girls, regardless of their family’s ability to pay. Assistance is available for girls with genuine need, and we offer reduced rates for eligible Title 1 schools. We are committed to raise funds so that every girl who wants to participate can. Donations are tax-deductible. 

What is the refund policy? GOTR-Nebraska will refund the full amount of tuition minus a $40 processing fee if the refund is requested in writing to administration a minimum of 14 days before online registration closes. No refunds are given after that time. Refund requests must be made in writing — no exceptions. Specific dates are listed on the current registration form for the season. 


Frequently Asked Questions About the GOTR 5K

Do you put on your own 5K race for GOTR girls? Can anyone participate? GOTR-Nebraska presents at least one GOTR-affiliated 5K each season. Current GOTR participants may enter this event with a separate registration and entry fee. The GOTR 5K entry fee is not included in the program tuition. Regional GOTR 5Ks outside the metro region are open to the public. The number of non-GOTR participants at the 5Ks is limited and entries are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Proceeds underwrite 5K expenses and support Girls on the Run of Nebraska programming. The 5Ks are one of the organization’s primary fundraisers. No unregistered participants are allowed on the course for safety and liability reasons.

Can I run with my daughter? Yes. Every girl must be accompanied on the 5K course by a registered Run Buddy. You must be a registered participant with a race bib. In the running community, people that jump in along the trail with no official registration are known as “bandits.” A lot of expense goes into hosting a 5K. Jumping in without registering amounts to theft of services. More importantly, those with no signed waiver put GOTR-Nebraska at considerable liability risk. Finally, space on the trail is a consideration for safety and supply purposes so it’s important that we’re able to regulate the number of participants on the course.

Does my GOTR girl have to run the whole thing? Each girl runs or walks her own race at her own pace. Some will run part of the race and take walk breaks along the way. Others might walk the whole race. Girls are encouraged to “run their own race,” whether they’re out to set a personal record or enjoy the scenery and camaraderie.

How long will it take? Pace varies among girls. Those who walk the entire distance will finish in about an hour. The quickest runners finish in fewer than 25 minutes. Most girls complete the course with a combination of running and walking and generally finish in 35 to 45 minutes.

How should I prepare for the GOTR 5K? No matter what 5K you enter, you should establish your objectives for the day as 1) finishing the 5K and 2) enjoying the experience. The GOTR 5K is NOT about how fast you can run. It’s about setting a goal and seeing it to the finish.

Does GOTR offer Chip Timing at the GOTR 5ks? No. The GOTR 5Ks are not timed events. The 5K celebrations are fun runs to showcase every GOTR participant's hard work during the season.