My turn

Spring is a time of rebirth for flowers, baseball teams and runners

2013-03-17T00:00:00Z Spring is a time of rebirth for flowers, baseball teams and runnersBy Bill Vargo Times Columnist
March 17, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The signs are all there.

March Madness will start this week, with Indiana University, the University of Notre Dame and Valparaiso University in tow.

The crocuses are just starting to pop up, so unless Mother Nature dumps a foot of snow on us, those little purple flowers should make it.

I don’t want to jinx anyone, but you might even be able to shop for lawn fertilizer soon in an effort to stop those weeds in their tracks. If your yard is anything like mine, though, you will need dumpster first to gather up the sticks and other winter debris.

Some area sports teams have even been ramping up their indoor practices. Soccer balls are flying around elementary school gyms, and baseball and softball league practices can't be far behind.

There is a great swell of pent up energy out there just waiting to burst out. Girls on the Run of Northwest Indiana has big plans once again, including a 5K run May 11 at Wicker Memorial Park in Highland.

If you haven't heard of this program, check it out at The mission is to build the confidence of girls in that all important age range of 8 to 13. That is when preteens begin to form their personalities and shape their futures. Often, the most discreet and minor alteration in a child’s expectations can have long lasting impact.

Girls on the Run provides an opportunity for young girls to realize accomplishments that they might not have thought possible. In this case, the training is really a means to a larger goal, boosting self-esteem and sculpting stronger women who can handle the ups and downs of the teen years and beyond.

When you see the photos of these girls crossing the finish line, you see the look of determination and satisfaction.

Someday soon, many of these runners will come back to coax and cajole younger girls to follow in their footsteps. They will know that it takes hard work to get from the baby steps of a few hundred yards to a nonstop 2.5-mile course.

As we celebrate the coming of Spring (there’s that word again) and Women’s History Month it is good to remember that every year at this season there is a rebirth of energy and a renewal of those desirable values of confidence and hard work.

In other words, we want to see a new generation that won’t shy away from standing up in what they believe in. They will feel confident in saying, “I want to be an engineer, or an astronaut, or an architect,” or anything else that might be a form of breaking the mold.

GOTR of Northwest Indiana offers twice weekly, after school training in Highland, Hammond, Munster, Dyer, East Chicago, St. John, and LaPorte. The 12-week program uses the power of running to help prepare girls for a life of self-confidence and healthy habits.

Jill Schlueter-Kim, GOTR of Northwest Indiana Council director, is among a group of women that have nurtured this program into what founder Molly Barker envisioned some 20 years ago. Contact Girls on the Run of Northwest Indiana at

The opinions are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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