The Raptors is a 501(c)(3) non-profit youth running club based in Albany, CA.
There is a great youth running club called Raptors Running which works out variously at the Albany High track, King Middle School Track, or goes on trail runs. They focus on technique - healthy running! - so important for growing teens - especially girls, whose center of gravity changes as they develop. (As I can attest from personal experience: my daughter wound up with two different stress fractures because her HS coach had them run too many junk miles.) http://runningraptors.org/
They do charge a membership fee, but that really just covers the uniform (which is cool) and membership fees to the US Track association for the runner; the coaches all work for free, just because they love promoting the sport. The coaches really know how to coach for good form and core strength.
Hi there-- my daughter loves to run as well; she's almost 13 years old. She also runs for her middle schools XC & track program.
On weekends and after school, she runs with the Raptors and the coaches are wonderful: http://runningraptors.org/how-to-join.html. She would love to have a friend there!
Raptors is a fun, relaxed, supportive running club that my son participated in until recently, while he was in middle school. They meet Sunday mornings at Albany Middle School.
Hi there! I have a 7th grader, and he used to play soccer for about 4 years. He was never super good at it, never really enjoyed it that much, but mostly did it because friends from his school did it and that made it fun. When he started middle school last year, the soccer became super competitive. That is just not him. So a friend asked him to try running track with him. It has changed his life! I realize that maybe not all kids would take to it like he did, but there are about 100 kids in his school that run, and they all find something in it that they like, all sizes, heights, body types. You can be competitive, or not. But basically you get to run around all afternoon with your friends, and the boys joke around and wrestle a lot, too. I think that some of the smaller schools may have tryouts and limit the amount of kids to just the most serious athletes. This is a shame! Shouldn't we be encouraging all kids who want to get off their screens and run around to develop something that can turn into a lifelong fitness habit?? Even if a school has a tryout cross-country/track program, there are local teams that he could join (my son is part of the Raptors as well as being on his middle school team.) As a parent, I love it because it is pretty simple to get started, you need some good shoes and you just start running. And a good coach will encourage each kid to improve from their own starting point; not to strive to be number one, but to challenge themselves to shave a few seconds off of their own personal record. You are part of a team, and yet it is still very individual. It is great for kids who are just not into the aggressive turn that soccer takes at their ages. Best to you guys!