Stories And Inspiration

Two Volunteer Coaches Make Big Impact on GO FAR Program

Submitted by Anonymous on Nov 21st 2014 - 8:00AM. | Perma Link

They don’t have ties to the school. They aren’t teachers or parents. They don’t have a reason to get out and run every week with a group of kids other than the fact that they want to.

When Lynn Montgomery and Wes Cashwell began coaching GO FAR at Jamestown Elementary, they did it because they already loved it. They had supported GO FAR at Johnson Street Global Studies Elementary and the Ragsdale YMCA. They were eager to be involved in their own program.Jamestown_coaches

Now, in their third year, they can walk—or run—to GO FAR practices each week. They can see Jamestown Elementary out their office window. The coaching duo has worked down the hall from one another for 14 years. It was Montgomery’s idea to get involved with GO FAR. She told Cashwell about it and he couldn’t resist. Cashwell, a general contractor, teases that when Montgomery has a crazy idea, he’s up for it.

Some of her ideas have turned out to be good ones.

They carry out the training aspect of the program, while Beth Phillips is the GO FAR teacher coordinator at the school. Cashwell and Montgomery can be seen running along Jamestown’s sidewalks with groups of kids during training.

“The highlight of the ten-week training session is when [the kids] convince Lynn to take them to City Lake Park,” Cashwell said.

“That’s the carrot,” Montgomery teased. The students have to work hard to build up stamina to run the distance. The kids are eager to do it every session.

When Montgomery, a certified public accountant, gets busy during tax season, Cashwell runs the kids by the office to see her. They come to see the medal tree, a Christmas tree draped in runner’s medals, and are told if they work hard, they can be winners.

And the kids in the Jamestown Elementary program know that being a winner is not about being first. Many start out not believing they can run 3.1 miles, but they do it. “The point is, you finish,” Cashwell said. “When they start believing in themselves, they can do it.”

The coaches have seen the results of GO FAR. “Attributes of GO FAR carry into academics also,” Cashwell said. “You can’t tell me that GO FAR is all about running. You learn to be a better person too.”

“And a teammate,” Montgomery added.

Seeing what the kids put into every session makes Montgomery proud. She gets emotional when she talks about them. She and Cashwell put a lot into those kids, but they credit the students’ hard work and the teachers for the successful program.

Phillips, in her first year as coordinator, said Montgomery and Cashwell helped her expand the program this year, strategizing ways to significantly increase the number of participants. They advertised at the school’s open house and held a parent night to talk with parents and recruit.jamestown_elementary

During the fall session, the pair led every lesson and workout. They have great relationships with the students, Phillips said.

“They worked hard to encourage students to push themselves so that they could attain their personal goals,” she said. “They know most of them individually and make them feel important. The students ask about the coaches from week to week and look forward to spending time with them in practice. They are vital to the team and we are very fortunate to have them.”

When the kids showed up at their race last spring in a double-decker bus reserved just for them, they might have realized their good fortune. It was another one of Montgomery’s crazy ideas.

“What we do is just a very small part of that program,” Cashwell said. “We just show up. [The teachers] put it together.”

“We get a lot more out of it than we ever give—the satisfaction of watching these children accomplish something they didn’t think they could do,” Montgomery said.doubldecker_bus

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