Roseville Teacher, Coach and Mentor Wins National Volunteer Award
In recognition of her inspirational impact on girls in our community, Cameron Radke received the remarkable volunteer award from Girls on the Run International
"This is my new mission." Those were Cameron Radke’s first words to a colleague after learning about Girls on the Run (GOTR). When she heard about the afterschool program that combines social and emotional life skill building with joyful movement, she immediately went to work recruiting volunteers, bringing students on board, and breathing life into the program at Emmet D. Williams Elementary School in the Roseville School District in Shoreview.
From the beginning of her five-year coaching tenure, dedication to the girls, her co-coaches and the organization was evident. Known for teaching girls to “own your space,” Cameron is a role model in the classroom as a sixth-grade teacher at Emmet D. Williams, at GOTR, and when competing in powerlifting competitions.
GOTR parent and former co-coach Rachel Wright shared, “Cameron Radke has been such a bright light in this world. She understands and just loves kids and will turn over every stone to figure out what makes any particular student tick. I'll never forget when she discovered Girls on the Run and went on the mission to bring it to Roseville Area Schools. The work that Girls on the Run and volunteers like Cameron do is life-changing - it helps girls to learn resilience, teamwork, bonding, and self love. In a culture that teaches girls that the values that matter are beauty, size, and compliance, the work that is done by GOTR cannot be underestimated.”
Not only has Cameron coached before and after school for the last five years, she also goes above and beyond each summer, leading three years of Camp GOTR, a one-week summer program for 3rd-6th grade girls. In addition, she serves on Team Addy, GOTR’s program support team of veteran star coaches, working to screen, train and support new volunteers across Minnesota. Early in the pandemic as Cameron navigated teaching remotely, she also stepped up to pilot GOTR’s virtual curriculum. “She pours her whole heart into showing up authentically for kids, her peers, and this organization,” said Kathleen Cannon, Program Director of GOTR MN.
Leaders at her school appreciate her dedication. Principal Jen Wilson shared, “Ms. Cameron Radke is a very deserving recipient of this award and her service to our school community goes well beyond just Girls on the Run. Ms. Radke is an instructional leader in the building and a strong advocate for all students. She goes above and beyond to meet the unique needs of our very diverse student population. She certainly exemplifies our Roseville Area Schools district mission of ‘equity in all we do’ – she supports the voices and learning of our BIPOC students. Ms. Radke raises strong girls and we are so proud of her.”
Cameron is one of twelve coaches honored with the Girls on the Run Remarkable Volunteer Award in 2021. Awardees are selected from thousands of volunteers who support GOTR programming across the country. The Award is bestowed upon extraordinary volunteers to shine a light on the inspirational impact they have on GOTR.
Girls on the Run Minnesota (GOTR MN) is preparing for its Spring 2022 season, actively seeking new volunteer coaches to lead teams of 3rd-8th grade girls all over Minnesota. The recent statewide expansion of this evidence-based positive youth development program is bringing new opportunities to girls in the Twin Cities and beyond, including St. Cloud, Duluth, Rochester, and Northfield.
As coaches, adults of all genders receive all the training and materials they need to lead teams of girls through an interactive curriculum focused on building social and emotional life skills. Interested volunteers do not need to be runners to be effective coaches and role models. During the eight-week program, girls participate in lessons that foster confidence, build peer connections and encourage community service while they prepare for an end-of-season celebratory 5K event.
As GOTR enters the tenth year of service and community programming, creating an environment of success for all girls remains a top priority. A recent study by the University of Minnesota found that 85% of program participants improved in confidence, competence, caring, character and connection to others. Community members are invited to be part of this vital work as coaches. GOTR provides a place where all girls belong, using the word “girl” in a gender-expansive way in welcoming those who identify as girls and non-binary kids.
For more information or to sign up to coach, visit www.gotrmn.org/coach.
About Girls on the Run
Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program for 3rd-8th grade girls. Participants develop and improve competence, feel confidence in who they are, develop strength of character, respond to others and oneself with care, create positive connections with peers and adults and make a meaningful contribution to community and society. Each session is led by trained volunteer coaches that guide and mentor a team of girls. The eight to ten-week program concludes with all participants completing a celebratory 5k event which gives them a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. What started as a small start-up serving 24 girls in the spring of 2012 has spread quickly across the Twin Cities and now statewide to serve 20,000 girls over 10 years.