Yep, that’s Mini Mermaid and I having a little chat. So many times I get asked, why Mini Mermaids? Mermaids don’t have legs so….how do they run? It’s a good question! It turns out, having characters children can identify with actually helps them learn, we believe in utilizing the power of movement as a means to introduce mindfulness to our children and our characters help us do that. Our kids need play; they need to create story lines in their heads to identify with, to problem solve with and movement fosters this ability. Check out this cool article on the power of play and how the lack of play is affecting our children.
In our curriculum's, Mini Mermaid is a normal mermaid, she doesn’t have special powers, she really tries her best and sometimes misses the mark. Girls and coaches learn that Mini Mermaid wants to do the right thing AND she needs reminders on HOW to do the right thing, for herself and for others. She is part magic and part real. Mini Mermaid has a nemesis her name is Siren, she looks very similar to Mini Mermaid and throughout the six-week program, girls learn to differentiate between the two voices of these characters. Mini Mermaid represents courage, strength, and bravery. Siren represents fear and shame which sound and look like confusing messages from the world and ourselves. Sometimes the distinction is really clear between the two and sometimes it isn’t. We do this on purpose because in order to learn how to hear the voices that move us forward and quiet down the voices that hold us back we have to know what they look and sound like.
In our boy's program, Young Tritons, we have many characters, each with their own story. Through the character of Young Triton, boys see how he needs different types of strength, what we call the Trident of Strength, to stand up for himself and others. We have created a character that can safely open the door to mindfulness and reveal to boys their heart, mind AND body strength. Young Triton shows boys how to have self-compassion and how our inner critic keeps us from understanding the beauty of our common humanity. When boys see the connection to their team and why they matter within that team, their ability to have empathy for others increases.
Building self-kindness in our kids needs a new strategy, we know that movement increases a child's ability to learn, we know that fictional characters create a safe space for children to identify with, we do both of these things. So why Mini Mermaid, Siren, and Young Triton? Because they are in their own way magical, and we can see ourselves in them and make the changes we want to. We feel safe to recognize our own worth and value which leads to bravery and courage. And wow, what an amazing world it would be if every woman, girl, man, and boy knew they had a voice, that they mattered and that they could impact their community for good.
Mike Kaspar is a father, Director of Product Management, and Young Tritons Running Club coach at Village School in Campbell, CA. Here is what he shared with us about his experience as a coach this year:
I choose to coach YTRC because I love running. I have a 6-year-old son named Conrad and I have always wanted to coach something I was very passionate about with/for him.
A friend of mine is a MMRC coach in Santa Cruz, CA and she turned me on to the YTRC. Our school was without a running club for boys and this seems like a natural fit so I started YTRC at our school. I am now spreading the word to other parents that are interested in coaching at our school as well as other people interested in starting their own YTRC programs at their schools. The feedback from the children, parents and school staff has been amazing. I feel very supported in my coaching efforts.
My favorite parts of coaching include 1. Seeing how excited my son is about making friends in other grades through YTRC. 2. Spreading the gift of running and it’s therapeutic attributes to new generations of runners. 3. Connecting with the school & running communities in new ways. 4. Helping the boys better manage themselves through empathy and compassion while moving their bodies - I wish I had a program like this growing up!!! Honestly, I think I got way more out of it than I gave.
I was reminded that teaching, coaching and giving back to young people & the community is one the best and most rewarding things an adult can do in their life (at any age). I was also reminded that the *best things in life are not things*... and often are unpaid volunteer efforts.
Would you like to help us expand? We are looking for volunteers to put up flyers and distribute marketing materials. You can be located ANYWHERE for this opportunity. Please email email@example.com if you are interested!
Sessions begin the week of September 30 and
end with the Morgan Hill 5k on October 16
Sessions begin the week of October 3 and
end with the Mermaid San Francisco 5k on November 1
Sessions begin the week of November 7 and
end with the Sacramento Santa Run on December 17
Thanks to these race partners for our current and upcoming sessions. Mini Mermaids and Young Tritons will discover the finish line is just the beginning because of you.