(KFVS) - On the brisk morning of October 3, 2015, more than 50 girls formed a sea of pink as they hit the ground running in the 2nd Annual Sole Challenge 5K/10K Race in Arrowhead Lake in Johnston City.
For many of these Sole Camp participants, it was their first time running a 5K race.
Despite their novelty, they looked like seasoned runners as they crossed the finish line in their bright pink shirts, some donning fairy wings and feather boas.
After six weeks of preparation and perseverance, these girls had accomplished a feat few adults can say they have.
Sole Camp of the 618 is a comprehensive educational running program for fourth through eighth grade girls in the lower sixteen counties of southern Illinois.
This is accomplished through a combination of educational and running activities lead by volunteer coaches.
Each session has a 15-20 minute educational component covering a variety of social, mental and behavioral health topics like self-esteem, leadership, gossip, team building, cyber bullying, and nutrition.
Then the coaches lead a group run, much like a "Couch to 5k" plan.
On August 23, 2015, Sole Camp, with proceeds from Sole Sistas of the 618's Sole Challenge 5k/10K s initiated its pilot program.
With a total of six site locations (Anna, Carbondale, Carterville, Marion, Murphysboro, and Pinckneyville) and more than 60 participants, the pilot was a HUGE success.
After excellent feedback from participants, parents, and coaches, it was decided to: 1) extend the length of Sole Camp from 6 to 7 weeks, 2) improve the interactive nature of the curriculum, and 3) establish 1-3 new site locations.
Sole Camp is in search of positive female role models, at least 18 years of age, to conduct camp lessons and support camp participants.
At least two adult coaches are needed for each site. Teens are welcome to assist.
Whether you are a seasoned runner or new to the sport, we encourage you to consider becoming a member of the Sole Camp Team.
All necessary training will be provided. Volunteer coaches will be expected to commit two days per week (days and times are negotiable) over the course of a 7 week period (week of August 15 to week of September 26 and participate in the Sole Challenge 5k on October 1, 2016 with your camp participants).
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer coach for any of the new site locations or existing site locations, please visit SoleSistasofthe618.com.
Click on "Sole Camp" to learn more. You may also contact Sole Camp Director, Allison Hasler at 618-694-4017 or firstname.lastname@example.org.