Sole Girls Founder Ashley Wiles Empowers Girls!

Sole Girls is a program that uses creative running games to empower young girls and help them develop the right ideas about healthy living, self-esteem, and body image!Sole Girls

We spoke to Ashley Wiles, the founder of Sole Girls, about why the program is so important and about what girls can do to have healthier minds and bodies!

Before founding Sole Girls, Wiles was a life coach.

"I work with people who have challenges they want to overcome, sometimes in life, and often with weight," she said.

She is also a runner who runs marathons and triathlons.

"I love helping people overcome negative relationships with physical activity and start to love being active, not to lose weight, but because they feel amazing," she explained.

She started Sole Girls because she saw that running could be a great tool for empowering girls and helping them to understand themselves.

She explained that young girls have a lot of pressure on them to be something they're not.

"So many girls drop physical activity in high school because of how they feel about their bodies, or not feeling included," she said. "We provide girls the opportunity to run in a non-competitive, encouraging, supportive, and fun group."

One of the best aspects of running is that it's a sport that doesn't require much gear, and that it doesn't require a group of people to do it.

Plus, most other sports incorporate running in some way. Basketball, soccer, field hockey, and baseball are all running-heavy activities.

"What is awesome about running is you can do it anywhere too, so no matter what transitions you go through in life, you can always go for a run and sort out frustrations, challenges or anger," she said. "Running is a great way to stay active, and it sharpens your concentration so it's helpful when you're back in class too!"

Sole Girls focuses on empowering girls aged 8 to 12 with their special program.

"This is when girls start to question their parents, and become really aware of their peers and external influences like the media," Wiles said. "The girl world is so crazy, and it starts early!"

The age group doesn't just have to deal with added peer pressure, but with many changes, both inside and out.

"It's also in this age that girls start developing physically," Wiles said. "They may start growing taller very quickly and also their bodies are taking on a new shape," she said.

Wiles manages to make an activity that many girls might not be motivated to do, and turns it into an activity everyone wants to take part in.

"A lot of people have a hard time to 'make themselves' go running or do anything that isn't fun!" Wiles said.

That's why Wiles sees Sole Girls as an empowerment and activity club for girls, rather than a program that's all about the running.

Sole Girls

"Running is just a component something we do, but we do so much more cool stuff!" she said. "My number 1 goal is to make physical activity FUN, we play games, cheer, laugh and encourage each other."

This summer, Sole Girls put on the Sole Girls Tween Empowerment Camp.

The camp focused on bullying prevention and helping girls go back to school with confidence. It empowered girls by giving them them tools and techniques for dealing with bullies and peers, and helps girls to learn to feel awesome about themselves.

One part of Sole Girls includes training girls for an awesome 5 kilometer run at the end of the course.

The girls train once or twice a week for 8 weeks to get ready for the big run.

"When race day comes, there is no doubt that it is possible because we've trained mentally and physically to run and complete the run!" she said.

On the day of the race, the community comes out to join the girls in their run to support the message that physical activity is important. Most of all, it's about having fun.

"It's amazing how bombarded girls are with media about how we are 'supposed' to look and what is attractive," she said. "The most important thing girls can do to boost their health and body image is take care of themselves and be their most awesome version of themselves."

Girls should take the time to get to know themselves and understand their own likes, dislikes, and values. That's how they can learn to make the best decisions for themselves.

She also believes girls should be active.

"If running is not your thing, find something that it is. There are so many options," she said.

She also warned girls to be cautious of what is presented to them in the media.

"What you see is not always true," she said.

Instead, girls should appreciate themselves, and learn to be kind to one another.

"If we support, encourage and listen to each other more often than criticize, we can change the negative cycle of bullying," she said. "People want to be heard, seen, and loved just like you do, don't let that bully in your head win!. Be good to yourself, treat your body with respect. Feed it right, be active, and remind yourself that you are awesome."

Do you need your own support team to go after your goals? Join us at Sweety High and meet other girls who can empower and encourage you! Just click here to join!