Empowering Girls to Build Confidence, Live Healthy and Give Back
During the first quarter of this year, an enthusiastic group of Lower School girls spent Thursday afternoons learning how to take care of themselves, each other and our greater community. The first season of our Before and After School Care (BASC) Empower Girls Running Club was a huge hit! The club’s twenty one members endured the late summer heat to follow through on their commitment to live healthy and with purpose as they trained for a full 5k run.
What is Empower Girls Running Club?
Empower Girls Running Club helps our students develop healthy habits through exercise, teamwork and service. The program seeks to empower young girls to foster friendships, pursue their love of running and give back to those in need. Club co-leaders Ms. Mayers and Ms. Mary Gaylord begin each weekly meeting with an activity to explore topics including:
The group then practices proper stretching and warm-up techniques before heading outside to run. Some members are experienced runners while others are new to the sport. It’s not about how far or fast any one person can run. It’s about developing positive, active routines in a supportive and fun environment.
“There were days when it was pretty hot and you could see some of the girls struggle. You’d hear someone shout ‘You can do it!’ and the other girls would start to chime in. That kind of support is a catchy thing. One person does it and it grows. I love that I get to see students shine in a different light...and they see that in each other too.” — Ms. Gaylord
A 5K to Remember
After meeting and training for weeks, the club completed a full 5k (3.1 miles) on the B&A trail with the support of family, friends and a very special visit from our Upper School cross country team. While Ms. Mayers and Ms. Gaylord had been running with the girls for weeks, the club was excited to share the trail with other Severn faculty and student runners. Admiral runners appeared to come out of the woodwork to join in and cheer the girls on.
Service for Sarah’s House
In addition to the 5k run, the club also completed the season with a service learning project. The group chose to work with Sarah’s House, a local supportive housing program in Ft. Meade. They collected gently used clothing and personal hygiene items to donate to the organization. The group also prepared fresh food for the families currently living at Sarah’s House. They were most excited about this portion of the service project, eager to make Sarah's House residents feel cared for with homemade meals.
“I love to see the girls so motivated. They are out there pushing themselves to set and reach personal goals. And the best part is that they are so excited about helping others. The girls took on the responsibility of talking to their families about collecting donations and making food for Sarah's House. They felt empowered themselves and were empowering others, too." — Ms. Mayers
In Their Words
We asked several Empower Girls members to share what they liked about being in the club:
“My favorite part of the club is doing the service project because you are helping people in need. And it’s always really fun just getting together every week.” — Mae ‘26
“I like how we can all work as a team to make food for the families who need it.” — Sophia ‘26
“This was the first time I could run two miles and I could do it because my friends gave me the confidence to keep going.” — Liana ‘28
“I like being with my friends and supporting people and cheering them on. I like working hard and getting better at running.” — Emilie ‘28
"I like running because it helps me get healthier and it helps me with the sports I do. I’ve never had the confidence to run that much before this.” — Lily ‘28
At Severn we aim to teach our students how to live healthy, balanced lives as purposeful members of our community. The Empower Girls Running Club is just one example of how we help our students discover their passions, persevere through struggle and forge meaningful relationships. We are grateful to our faculty, staff, and students who worked together to make this a memorable experience for our Lower School runners. We’ll see you for another great running and service season next fall!