A trio of girls participate in a fitness challenge at Go Golden Girls.                                 Claire Palmer/Star photo

A trio of girls participate in a fitness challenge at Go Golden Girls. Claire Palmer/Star photo

Go Golden Girls offers community for girls

The Town of Golden has partnered with Jenn Burns of Base Health and Wellness to bring a new after school program for girls from grades 4-12. The program is called ‘Go Golden Girls’ and teaches young girls physical literacy and overall wellness and mindfulness.

The program runs every Tuesday at the Mount 7 Rec Plex from 3:30 until 5 p.m. It’s $4 to drop in for students and youth.

“It’s a place where girls can try a bunch of different types of things, and realize their strengths,” said Burns. “Hopefully they find something that maybe they didn’t know they really loved and develop habits for a lifetime that are sustainable for a healthy lifestyle.”

Go Golden Girls offers a bit more structure than some of the other drop-in programs offered by the town for youth, but remains sport generic. Each week Burns tries to introduce a new sport activity to make sure that the participants are getting a well rounded experience.

The inspiration for the program comes from a desire to get girls in this age group more active. Heading into high school, around 50 per cent of girls will drop out of sports for varying reasons, according to multiple studies. For Burns, it means that these girls are missing out on valuable lessons and character building opportunities that can set them up for success.

“It matters because there is so much more to sport and fitness than just sport and fitness, it helps you be able to get out there and conquer those things in every day life when it gets hard” said Burns. “It’s just like when you’re doing a work out and you wanna quit, but you keep going and see it through to the end and how good it feels to finish what you started.”

Burns also tries to include a period of stretching and meditation at the end of each session, in order to teach the girls relaxation strategies and how to handle stress. This period of mindfulness allows the girls to absorb the lessons they’ve learned, and develop their minds as well as their fitness.

Originally, Burns had plans to run the program through her own company, before the Town’s Recreation department approached her to run it through their facilities.

Through the town, Burns was able to secure grant money from the BC Parks and Rec Association, which helped offset the costs and made the program more widely available.

“There’s so many different reports out that talk about how younger women will just fall out of sport completely,” said Jordan Petrovics, the Manager of Recreation Services in Golden. “We saw it as a great opportunity to see where the local market was at with that and hopefully build more programming with the success of that.”

While the program is still in it’s infancy, Burns has already started to see the impact amongst the dedicated group of attendees that come every week. While the group is small so far, she’s excited to see the program continue to grow throughout the year.

“The girls who do come to the program feel really comfortable coming here,” said Burns. “We’re hoping to create a huge group where girls can come and be with friends and everyone can work together and be a team!”

The program is picking up traction, but is still trying to get the word out in order to grow to where Burns and Petrovics would like to see it be. Go Golden Girls will run into the new year until April, and is encouraging new people to come out each week.