LAKEVIEW, Ore. – In the spring of 2019, Oregon State University Extension Service in Lake County launched Girls Go Run, an exercise program for elementary-age youth that proved to be so popular that plans called for it to be brought back in 2020.
Girls Go Run relied on running in groups and culminated in a celebratory 5-kilometer run. That couldn’t happen this spring as OSU Extension canceled in-person programming to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Lake County Extension 4-H’s Melissa Maxwell didn’t want to let an opportunity pass, however. As a result, the Lake County 4-H Kids Virtual Running Club was born.
“Lake County 4-H believes in leading an active and healthy lifestyle,” Maxwell said. “Even though it’s a different kind of running program, my aim was to make it accessible to all Lake County youth in grades K-8 and promote kids and families to remain active while staying home.”
Like Girls Go Run, the club’s goal is to encourage character development and healthy lifestyles through running, jogging or walking. It began May 10 and will continue through mid-June. Upon registering, participants received a welcome packet in the mail that included a running record sheet, shoelaces with the 4-H logo and stickers.
Twenty children are participating. They’ll receive a T-shirt when they complete the program.
Here’s how the Lake County 4-H Kids Virtual Running Club works:
- The children run, jog or walk at any location – on grass, on a sidewalk, on a trail, on a treadmill or on a track.
- They run/jog/walk their age-appropriate race distance, at their own pace, and their parent or guardian records their time.
- Their results can be uploaded after each week to an online results page, where they can also comment on their experience.
- Families can also choose their own start and finish line, or if available, use an existing one provided by the running club.