For the first time, middle-school girls in Wrangell can participate in a track program that combines running with lessons about life skills.

Girls on Track started this week for girls in sixth through eighth grade.

Head Coach Becky McIntyre said it’s an expansion of the existing Girls on the Run program for elementary school girls.

“There aren’t a lot of activities for the middle-school girls. We had such a positive experience with the Girls on the Run elementary age. And so we wanted to make this program available for the middle school girls, as well,” McIntyre said. “And hopefully impact them the same way we did the younger girls.”

McIntyre said Girls on the Run is a national nonprofit that aims to teach girls about self-image, respect and community awareness.

“So Girls on Track talks about issues that are more appropriate for the middle school age. Some of the topics we talk about are focused on self-care and awareness like dealing with stress, being balanced, nutrition and gratitude in our circumstances. Some are focused on healthy relationships like conflict resolution, bullying, peer pressure,” McIntyre said.

Girls on the Run started in Wrangell a few years ago, but the program has not been consistent. There are now nine trained coaches involved, and McIntyre hopes increased community support will bolster the program and help it grow.

The Wrangell Girls on Track season ends Oct. 11 with a 5K race that will be open to the community.