Some states hire fundraisers. In Vermont, Blue Cross/Blue Shield is a regular supporter, for instance. Private individuals sponsor individual girls. At this point in West Virginia, Evans said, nobody has time to recruit solid funding because most of West Virginia's volunteer coaches have full-time jobs. "We could get there if we could talk with the right people and make the right connections," Evans said.
Meanwhile, in Fayette County, Fenton said, "parents are calling us from other towns, asking if they can drive their girls to Fayetteville to join us." She recently talked with an Oak Hill woman who wants to start a group there. "There's a lot of enthusiasm."
Tony Canada, who runs after-school programs for the New River Health Association in two other Fayette County towns, said, "This sounds great. Maybe there's some way we can all coordinate."
Shannon Atwell, who organizes the Mercer County group, said she recently got a similar call from a Charleston mother who wants to organize a group. "It's probably time for all of us to find a way to work together," she said. "We need to find ways to sustain it and offer it to a lot more girls."
Find or start a Girls on the Run program
More than 120,000 girls in 47 states and Canada participated in Girls on the Run in 2012. In West Virginia, 587 girls and 269 volunteer adults took part. "We're just getting started, compared to other states," said Elkins coach Terry Evans.
Expenses run about $65 a girl for snacks, water bottles, T-shirts, 5K runs. The local group and council work this out together.
To start a chapter, you need:
Reach Kate Long at katel...@wvgazette.com or 304-343-1884.
"The Shape We're In" has been supported by a Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism fellowship, administered by the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.