While it may look and feel like winter, many girls in the Midcoast area are ready to lace up their running shoes, and are already looking towards spring and the start of a new and expanding Girls on the Run season.

A national nonprofit, Girls on the Run teaches girls in grades three to eight  the skills they need to be healthy and confident individuals, using running as a tool to teach positive life skills and empowerment. Girls on the Run has served over 3,000 girls in the five years since it first came to Maine.

Over the past two years, the organization has hosted six teams at three sites (Penobscot Bay YMCA, Walker School and Troy Central School).

Sign-ups begin Thursday, Feb. 1, for teams at seven sites being offered this spring: Captain Albert Stevens School (Belfast), Camden-Rockport Elementary School, Ames School (Searsmont), St. George School, Walker School (Liberty), and Troy Central School.

Islesboro Central School will host a middle school Heart and Sole team, becoming the first Maine island school to host a Girls on the Run program.

Registration (which includes a scholarship form) can be found at https://www.girlsontherunmaine.org/Register-Now.

Over the course of the 10-week after school program, girls focus on building confidence, character, compassion, connections, and a sense of competency through researched curriculum, various games, and running workouts.

The season culminates with an end-of-season celebration 5K that brings together Girls on the Run participants from across the state and allows girls to feel that they’re part of something bigger.

Girls who sign up between Feb. 1 and 11 will be entered into the lottery system, should more girls sign up than there are spots available. If spots remain after this date, the team will be filled in a first-come, first-serve manner.

If you have questions, are interested in getting involved, or would like to request a paper application, please contact Caroline Moore, Midcoast Regional Coordinator, at caroline.moore@girlsontherun.org