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New Hamburg running group helps boys learn, while having fun

RUN LIKE AN ANTELOPE — Pictured is Juliet Meade, founder and coach of Boys on the Right Track running group, with some of the program’s members. Boys on the Right Track is available for boys between 7 – 13 years old, to help teach value lessons and healthy living. Photo submitted by Meade.
HAMBURG —  Juliet Meade has been coaching for a local chapter of Girls on the Run, an international nonprofit program, since last February. After receiving inquiries and requests, she reached out to Girls on the Run International with the proposition to establish a program that focuses on boys. The product: Boys on the Right Track running group.

With two sons aged 13 and 10, and a 7-year-old daughter, Meade said that she initially began instructing GOTR because she is a feminist and was seeking an opportunity to teach and empower girls. She said that was until she learned about the struggle and issues for boys.

As an associate faculty teacher for the University of Phoenix, Meade said she had a wealth of resources to research and compile information for her new venture.

She said she was shocked to discover that “although males generally have high levels of self-esteem, they’re more likely to drop out of high school and have higher levels of suicide.” According to the United States Department of Education, data has proven that girls will thrive while boys lag, during the years of adolescence, leading up to entering higher education.

“I did a ton of research and read a lot of articles on boys and leadership and what they need,” she said. This program uses physical activity and discussion to teach value lessons for healthy lifestyles. Since girls vary from boys in nature, Boys on the Right Track is similarly formatted to GOTR, Meade said, but is tailored to the needs of that gender.

Sessions begin with a run. Meade then teaches different lessons, per session, touching base on issues such as communication skills, gender conformity, nutrition, diversity, anti-bullying, anger management and conflict resolution.

She said that she learned about the positive affects of motor activity, so she also incorporates games, role play, meditation, competition, cooperation and teamwork.

“There’s a lot of positive affects on learning for boys, in that particular instruction,” Meade said. “They’re learning while they’re having fun.”

Boys on the Right Track officially began on Jan. 27. It is a nine-week program for boys age 7 – 13, at any level of physical ability; there are 30 registration spots available for two 15-person sub-groups, with one that meets on Monday and Saturday and one that meets Friday and Sunday. The spring program will begin on April 21; registration will be on a first come, first serve basis.

Meade’s program is currently going through a copyright process, which will allow Boys on the Right Track to be available in other areas.

CPR-certified and trained in first aid, Meade began running when she was 25 years old, inspired by her husband. She runs half marathons and will be training for a triathlon, this summer.

“I grew up in a little bit of a different household. My parents were very old-school Italian, you know, making the sauce; and girls weren’t supposed to play sports,” Meade said. “So I think that’s why I found running, because it’s something I could pick up later in life. And running is definitely one of those sports anyone can do. We all know how to run after something [or] run away from something that we’re scared of. It’s innate in us.”

The winter session will end with an exclusive 5K run, which will be available to the public. All funds raised from the Boys on the Right Track 5K will go toward a scholarship for boys who cannot afford to participate in the program. Some insurance companies cover the program.

“I really truly believe that everyone should have the ability to be able to participate in the program, if cost prohibits it,” Meade said. “I’d really like to start a scholarship fund for kids who really want to do it but can’t afford to do it.”

For more information about Boys on the Right Track, visit www.boysontherighttrack.com or www.facebook.com/boysontherighttrack.

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