Kids Run Clubs: Building Confidence in Physical Activity
Active SWV’s Kids Run Club program is designed to target kids at a young age, teaching them the value of exercise before they’ve identified themselves as ‘athletic’ or not The program gives kids confidence in their ability to be physically active, setting them up to live healthy lives beyond their time with the program.
Pre and post program participant survey data that was analysed by the WVU School of Public Health shows that many kids felt more confident in physical activity skills like warming up, stretching, doing a workout on their own, and being active for a longer period of time from the start of the program compared to the end. Spring 2018 in particular had a statistically significant increase in confidence levels of kids about their ability to be physically active for 60 minutes daily.
Nobody sees this progress better then the volunteer Coaches that are responsible for keeping the program going in the schools and groups that host it! We asked a few to weigh in on changes they’ve seen in kids through the seasons.
‘I really enjoyed coaching the students and interacting with them in a different role than a teacher. It was a positive experience for me to see several students get better each week.’ – Erin Kneeland, Stanaford ES teacher and coach
Coach Kim at Marsh Fork said she noticed a big difference in the strength and speed of the kids last fall. There was one boy in particular who raced ahead of everyone else in previous semesters, but more recently a lot of the kids were able to keep up with him. Even one of the younger kids in 3rd grade was keeping up.
Coach Dee Dee at Summersville Elementary said that her granddaughter had participated in the Kids Run Club since spring of 2016. Now she’s on the middle school cross country team, and she’s placed in every meet so far.
Another volunteer coach, Dustin Wood at Panther Creek Elementary noticed that the kids were become smarter runners as the season went on. “I feel like they’re starting to learn to pace themselves. They still have a long way to go, but I’ve noticed that they’re more confident. The first day they were like “Oh no, we have to run”, but they’re starting to like it now. They’re learning that it can be a fun thing to do.”
Some kids commented on their own progress as well. Joshua Cortines at Collins Middle School said “It’s fun. [After 8 weeks of run club] I can run a lot faster, it’s a lot easier, and I don’t stop as much.” He is looking forward to the start of baseball season to see how run club helps him as an athlete.
Aryana Kincaid said she likes that Run Club keeps her accountable to run, even when the weather is bad in the winter. “I started running cross county and I thought it would be a better build up for me running.”
There are over 800 kids participating in spring Kids Run Clubs all across Raleigh, Summers, Nicholas, and Fayette counties this season. If you would like to volunteer with a Club, or start a Run Club at your school, contact [email protected] to get started!