Health & Wellness

Sparta- Girls on the Run Featured Speakers at National Summit.

Melissa Fagersten, Deb Siipola and Villi Szabo were invited to represent Girls on the Run North Jersey at the National Summit last week in San Antonio, Texas.  

SPARTA, NJ-Founding members, Deb Siipola, Victoria Szabo and Melissa Fagersten were chosen to present at The Girls on the Run National Summit last week in San Antonio, Texas.  Members representing over 200 councils from across the country attended the annual event.  Their topic, "Your 5k event, start to finish", focused on building a reasonable timeline as well as a strong volunteer base.

"We were very fortunate to be shown the ropes our first time around and we were thrilled to share that knowledge with other councils," said Deb Siipola, executive director.  Deb went on to say, "We are extremely lucky to have a community that supports us and incredibly dedicated volunteers."

Girls on the Run New Jersey North will kick off its fifth season this spring.  Registration is now open at Spring session will begin March 3.

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Girls on the Run is an after school program that combines curriculum with sport aimed at building self esteem and confidence in young girls between third and fifth grade. Throughout the ten week season, the girls will discuss such topics such as body image, popularity, gossiping, choosing our friends, conflict resolution and much more.  The girls will develop their character, competence and feel confidant in who they are, creating positive connections with peers and adults while making a meaningful contribution to their community. 

The curriculum is also combined with the sport of running. The running activities are used as a medium for teaching life skills and promoting healthy outcomes, while coming together as a team to support one another.   At the conclusion of the program, the girls will join other teams to celebrate their accomplishments with a 5k, this year on May 17.

Girls on the Run serves over 60 thousand girls annually across the United States and Canada.  The local chapter, Girls on the Run New Jersey North, was founded three years ago and has grown to serve Sussex, Bergen, Passaic and Hudson County.

This spring, Girls on the Run welcomes 29 new coaches and 17 returning coaches, in addition to 11 junior coaches.

“ We are proud to work with such amazing coaches who share their talents with us,” said executive director, Deb Siipola. “We continue to be grateful for the support that the community gives to our girls.”

For more information, visit our website at or email us at 

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