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Let It All Out!

September 28, 2012

Girls on Track is our middle school running program which is comprised of awesome and dedicated girls, like this Fulton County Girls on Track team who didn’t let a little rain put a damper their day, as they spent the lesson running through the halls and around their gym.

Hyper, happy, tired, crazy, sad, overwhelmed…these aren’t names of fairy tale dwarves; these are several of the adjectives some of these Girls on Track participants used to describe the emotions they felt during the day. From finding friends and fitting in, to family time and finishing homework, a girl will feel a plethora of emotions during her time spent in and outside of school. Unfortunately, on top of homework and having crushes, middle school can be a time of cattiness and cliques. So, in addition to the stress linked with schoolwork and the butterflies caused by a crush’s glance, girls can also experience anxiety, fear, or sorrow before, during, and after the school day. So what’s a girl to do with all these feelings?

Experiencing negative emotions is not a bad thing—it’s good for a girl to identify what she is feeling. In this lesson, each girl learned that keeping her emotions bottled up can be harmful, especially when she reaches her bursting point. It’s like shaking up a bottle of soda; once the top is removed, a frothy, fizzy mess ensues—and that mess is never fun to clean up. Just as the soda’s sticky spew will affect the cap’s remover and others around, the explosion of bottled up emotions will affect the girl who held them in and likely the ones witnessing the emotional outburst. Therefore, one of the important notions about negative emotions is to identify the feelings and find an outlet.

Our Girls on Track girls revealed certain outlets they and their friends utilize in order to avoid emotional eruptions. These releases included writing, drawing, punching pillows, and, of course, the all-important act of running. Inadvertently, another emotional outlet was unearthed during the lesson—talking to friends. For example, in addition to satisfying the program’s mission statement, Girls on Track provides an environment of trust and comfort among the girls and coaches. Thus, the 6th-8th grade groups discuss topics ranging from changing bodies to family matters, expressing their emotions and feelings throughout their biweekly time spent together. The girls summed this up best when they said, “Girl on Track, we got your back.”

Article and images by Darlene Vincent, GOTR Atlanta’s fall intern from Georgia Gwinnett College

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