This spring season Girls on the Run will serve “her” millionth girl.
I remember back in 1997…I was about four seasons in and the demand for the program was growing. The fabulous Dori Luke came on board to help me manage the demand as well as offer her right-minded thinking to my left-brained feeling. She created more games and lessons and gave so much to the framework that GOTR still uses today!
One day she said. “Hey…my Mom has worked in the adolescent psychology field for some time now. She is specifically an expert in the field of eating disorders. I bet she would take a look at the curriculum and give her feedback on it…some pointers if necessary.”
I remember immediately feeling afraid. The self-doubt that plagued me for much of my life, reared it’s ugly head. “You don’t know what you are doing, Molly. There are others more qualified to write this, lead this, DO this.”
A couple weeks later Dori’s Mom, Sue Luke contacted me and invited me to meet her. We met at the Harris YMCA. I dropped my almost two-year old Hank off at the childcare and promptly made my way to the food court.
There she was. I remember her as bigger than life. Confident, welcoming and strong.
I sat down across from her. My guess is there was some small talk, but to tell you the truth I remember nothing of it. All I remember is sitting there waiting…nervous…wondering what this accomplished woman would say.
And as I recall…it went a little something like this.
Sue: “Well Molly. I want to thank you for letting me take a look at the curriculum. I’ve gone through it thoroughly.”
Molly: “Uh…Your welcome, I guess?”
Sue: “I think it’s important that I just cut to the chase.”
Sue: Her hands now rest on the front of the curriculum. “Molly, what you have here is truly remarkable. It’s amazing. It is life-changing.”
Molly: A deep sigh.
Sue: “So, I don’t think we need to ponder another moment about the effectiveness of the program or the loving spirit in which it was written. Of those I am certain.
I do, however, think you have a bigger issue…a bigger problem…a bigger question…to ponder.”
Molly: “Yes. And what is that?”
Sue: “My question to you is this: Do you keep Girls on the Run to yourself and affect a hundred girls a year or do you give it away and affect millions?”
I can remember feeling her words fall down upon my shoulders at first like heavy weights. My mind was in chaos. “NO! I can never give this away. No one could ever love this program like I do. No one could ever love the girls as deeply as I do. No…I’m afraid. I’m very afraid and I do not want to give it away.”
And then the next moments…like grace, like love, like all things beautiful, real and pure… fell down upon my shoulders like wings. Yes…like wings.
Because it was then…in those moments…where I remembered Sue’s beautiful daughter Dori, Dori…who had shown up when I needed her, shown up on days when I was sick. Shown up on nights when I wanted to quit, give up, cry, scream, shout. Dori who lifted me up when the cynics ridiculed me for thinking something like this could work, or called me names for In their words, trying to masculinize young girls.
I remembered her daughter Dori, who loved our girls as deeply and as passionately as I did…who coached with an open heart, an open mind and the willingness to be vulnerable. Dori, who shared her full, whole and authentic self with me…
And like magic Sue’s words no longer felt like weights…they were wings. Wings to set me free from myself…and to know that if Dori could be these things, then surely there were others.
And there were others. Lots of them. They are you…reading this now or sharing this with others. Coaches, Council Directors, Volunteers, Sponsors, Contributors…it has taken literally hundreds of thousands of you both directly and indirectly to not only make this millionth girl milestone for GOTR come to fruition, but to support each other in the process of doing so. The connections run deep…not just between coach and girl, but coach and coach, coach and staff, person to person!
Our millionth girl. I nearly weep as I write this. What a day! What a glorious day! The world is better because you stepped up to make it so.
I honor you. I honor you. I honor you!!!!!