Another vacation day, another bowl of Perfect Oatmeal


Banana + brown sugar.  If it’s not broke, don’t fit it!


And guess what?


I found an Operation Beautiful note today!  It was stuck on the door of the hallway leading to my hotel room.



I practically dropped my coffee!  🙂


Today is also the last day of the Girls on the Run Summit.  I’ve had so many people ask how they can get involved in this amazing organization.  Personally, volunteering with GOTR has been an awesome experience for me.  I almost feel selfish in my love for GOTR because I honestly feel like the girls give me more than I can possibly ever give back to them. 


(Thanks for Leiane for sending me this example of POSITIVE advertising!)

I never volunteered regularly until September, but the experience has really changed my life.  Volunteering makes you feel SO GOOD.  If you like to be active and care about helping young girls develop healthy habits and self-esteem, GOTR might be the perfect organization for you.


Here’s how you can get involved:


  • Be a Coach:  Coaching is really fun!  Coaches must commit to CPR and First Aid training, as well as a day-long training session.  Over the course of 12 weeks, coaches are expected to coach two days a week, usually after school (approximately from 2:30 – 4 or so, but this depends on the location).   To find a council in your area to inquire about coaching, check out this link (act fast because the season is starting!).  If there isn’t a council in your area, you can start one!
  • Be a SoleMate:  If you’re unable to coach due to the schedule requirements, consider being a SoleMate.  SoleMates run a race of their choice – like a 5K or marathon – and fundraise money to help lower-income girls afford the program.  I was a SoleMate for the Jingle Jog 5K and (thanks to your donations) raised $1,556.00 for the program!  It’s a really fun way to be involved.  To learn more, check out this link.
  • Be a Running Buddy:  The GOTR season culminates in an amazing 5K run.  Each girl needs an adult to run the race with.  Although GOTR encourages the girls’ parents to run with them, sometimes that’s not always possible.  You can volunteer to help a girl pace her first 5K.  I loved running a 5K with my girl! To be a buddy, contact your local chapter.

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What organization are YOU passionate about and why?



  • Christina January 19, 2011, 12:05 pm

    Thanks for this post!!! My schedule is a little crazy but I’m definitely going to check out being able to be a SoleMate. And FYI I love the word SoleMate! haha!

  • Natalia - a side of simple January 19, 2011, 12:07 pm

    Ah! I love that you found an Operation Beautiful note! And I’m even happier to hear that they still leave you floored. Right now I’m just really passionate about my faith. God has given me so much strength over the past few years and been so present in my life. Truly a wonderful gift!

  • Sarah for Real January 19, 2011, 12:10 pm

    I like that OB note! I like anything that uses the phrase “doggone it.”

    I’m passionate about the Multiple Sclerosis Society because it took my sister’s life. It affects more than 2.1 Million people and is one of (if not THE) most common serious disease that affects people in the middle of their life (20’s to 50’s).

    • Caitlin January 19, 2011, 7:49 pm

      I didn’t know that about MS – and Im so sorry about your sister. Thank you for spreading awareness!

  • Samantha @ The Life Abundant January 19, 2011, 12:14 pm

    That is a cool OB note-how fun!

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing January 19, 2011, 12:16 pm

    I’ll be a coach starting in March, for our first practice! Woo!

    I am also extremely passionate about children with Autism and getting correct information to people. I’ve worked with kids with Autism in the last few years and love them to pieces!

    • Robyn January 20, 2011, 12:05 am

      Yeah! Autism causes are near and dear to my heart, too! (I worked with autistic children for a while, too!) Autism Speaks is one of my favorite non-profits. 🙂

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg January 19, 2011, 12:20 pm

    Aw, this is such a great post! I wish we had a GOTR in my town!

  • Teri (BeePie Runs) January 19, 2011, 12:21 pm

    I would really love to coach a GOTR group but there isn’t a council in my area. Maybe I’ll look into starting one – or getting someone in my running group to start it!!

  • Stephanie January 19, 2011, 12:21 pm

    I would really love to get involved with this program. Kids + nutrition + health + running are my passions. 🙂

  • Bianca January 19, 2011, 12:27 pm

    I am going to be a SoleMate for the National half marathon, my first half. I am really excited to get involved because my schedule just doesn’t allow me to be a coach. I didn’t start running, or liking excercise, until I was 21. I think a program like GOTR really would have benefited my body image and self esteem.

    • Caitlin January 19, 2011, 7:53 pm

      This is awesome! Yay for Solemates and National Half!

  • Katie (Life... Discombobulated) January 19, 2011, 12:28 pm

    I can only imagine how cool it must be for you to find OB notes! 🙂 I heard someone speak this past weekend who said that our sole purpose in life is to live heroicly, to make a difference for others. With Operation Beautiful and supporting GOTR, you are really making a difference in people’s lives. Very cool!

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair January 19, 2011, 12:30 pm

    Awesome post, Caitlin! I think Girls on the Run sounds like such an amazing organization. I wish there were more in Canada. Hopefully it starts to spread up here soon 🙂

  • Marie-Journey to Body Zen January 19, 2011, 12:32 pm

    Thanks for posting this, I was wondering how I could get invovled :)!

  • Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons January 19, 2011, 12:35 pm

    This is awesome! I hope GOTR grows giant and is EVERYWHERE super soon! Love it =)

  • Sarah January 19, 2011, 12:35 pm

    I am passionate about Planned Parenthood, sexual health is often an area of health that is overlooked and without Planned Parenthood’s services many women (and men) would be left without any reproductive health care.

    • Caitlin January 19, 2011, 7:54 pm


  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) January 19, 2011, 12:38 pm

    Perfect oats with a perfect start to the day…finding that note! That is awesome! I need to get more involved in things like this. With small kids, it was hard to give any time, but now that I do have some time, I think I need to find my thing!

  • Dorry January 19, 2011, 12:39 pm

    I’m so interested in volunteering with GOTR. I’ve actually reached out to the contact in Dalla and trying to determine how much time I can commit with my work schedule. I want to get my nieces involved, too, once they’re a little bit older. 🙂

  • Maren January 19, 2011, 12:40 pm

    I have sent in my application and am hoping to get involved!! I am so excited about this program! Thanks for telling us all about it! 🙂

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine January 19, 2011, 12:41 pm

    I’m definitely going to check out the SoleMate program for the SunTrust National in March- are you raising money for it again for that race?

    LOVE the “If You Let Me Play” ad. I just wish it was more normal for girls to play sports in the first place!

  • Madeleine @ Stepping to the Bright Side January 19, 2011, 12:42 pm

    Since my grandmother died of the disease, breast cancer awareness is something very close to my heart. In fact, a huge part of why I’ve become so interested in nutrition is due to all the preventative implications of a whole, healthy, meatless diet. HOORAY for perfect oatmeal- my personal on the run staple!!

  • Rachel @ Grateful Girl Goes Gluten Free January 19, 2011, 12:45 pm

    I applied for the Spring session and I can’t wait to hear back. When you first wrote about this I knew I wanted to do it!

  • Kiran January 19, 2011, 12:46 pm

    Love this post! I usually love volunteering for a food drive or raise donation for homeless but now I know where I can help kids as well 🙂 thanks Caitlin!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 19, 2011, 12:52 pm

    GOTR is such a great organization! I looked into contacting our local chapter the other night!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 19, 2011, 1:01 pm

    You are such an inspiration Caitlin and I think the work you’re doing for these organizations is fantastic. I am hoping to get involved in some sort of similar initiative here in Canada but haven’t looked into it as of yet. It’s definitely on my goals list for 2011 and you have motivated me and given me so many ideas as to how to contribute. Thank you!

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 19, 2011, 1:06 pm

    That must be so rewarding to see a random Operation Beautiful note! Congrats to you!

    I’m going to check out GOTR – I’ve been looking for a way to give back and it seems like such a great cause. I wish there had been something like it for me when I was young.

  • lindsay January 19, 2011, 1:08 pm

    GOTR must be so happy they found you! You are an amazing advocate and cheerleader for them!!

    I am passionate about KIPP, a national network of high performing charter schools focused on low-income kids and also Higher Achievement, an after school program here in the DC area. I am a weekly mentor for Higher Achievement and Caitlin – you have inspired me to do a confidence/self esteem lesson for my students!

    Not related – have you tried McDonald’s oatmeal yet!?!? It is AMAZING!

    • Caitlin January 19, 2011, 7:54 pm

      Really??? I will keep an eye out for McDonald’s oatmeal!

  • Melissa January 19, 2011, 1:12 pm

    I would love to be a part of this! There are opportunities in my county here in AZ but are a little too far West for me. I wrote in to see about starting something up here in the Eastern part of my county. Hopefully we can get something started out this way! Thank you for the information and for the inspiration!

    Hope you are having a nice time here in AZ! 🙂

  • Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries January 19, 2011, 1:20 pm

    I’m currently in the process of being an Alternate Head Coach with GOTR here in Northern Virginia. I’m so excited and I love reading about the positive experience you’ve had. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Carrie H January 19, 2011, 1:21 pm

    Don’t get me wrong, I love me some OB notes, but that one looks awfully suspicious … it’s boy handwriting and on a GOTR note … think the husband left it? 🙂 That, of course, wouldn’t make it any less true or awesome!! Have a happy day.

    • Caitlin January 19, 2011, 7:55 pm

      Hahaha naw he was still asleep!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 19, 2011, 1:21 pm

    It must be so cool to see all those notes around 😀 And that oatmeal combo is the best!! A classic!

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) January 19, 2011, 1:26 pm

    I love coaching synchronized swimming myself – it’s amazing to see what the athletes can learn how to do with their bodies, and it’s so rewarding to come up with new drils and techniques to help them improve. Meet this weekend!

  • Vicki January 19, 2011, 1:26 pm

    I really love the idea of GOTR and love your passion for it. I can’t wait for my girls (7 and 5) to be old enough to participate. 🙂

  • salah@myhealthiestlifestyle January 19, 2011, 1:26 pm

    Love that OB note 🙂

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) January 19, 2011, 1:30 pm

    I submitted my GOTR application and they said that they would get back to me soon. I’m really hoping that they can place me somewhere, but I do have a weird class schedule this semester which may be complicating things. 🙁

  • Kristen January 19, 2011, 1:31 pm

    I can’t wait to start coaching for my school’s GOTR program this spring! And my girls are already excited too! So glad I found out more about this program through HTP! I would love to use OB in some of the lessons too!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) January 19, 2011, 1:39 pm

    I signed up to be a running buddy! I haven’t heard from them yet, but I’m hoping I’ll get more info soon. I really wanted to be an assistant coach, but the closest program to me is over an hour away, and with school, it wouldn’t be possible 🙁

  • Ali @ Ali on the Run January 19, 2011, 2:03 pm

    I’m passionate about Team Challenge, which is a 1/2 marathon training program (similar to Team in Training) that raises money and awareness for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. I’ve had Crohn’s since I was 7 years old, and thanks to Team Challenge I ran my first 1/2 marathon — and two more after that — in 2009.

  • Amanda (Eating Up) January 19, 2011, 2:07 pm

    Very cool! I love the Slow Food chapters, and I hope to be able to volunteer for some local events!

  • Megan G. January 19, 2011, 2:07 pm

    Do you know if there are any opportunities for teens to get involved with GOTR? It sounds like an amazing experience/opportunity.

  • Tracy January 19, 2011, 2:08 pm

    DAMN! I cannot believe that ad is 15+ years old. CANNOT BELIEVE IT! I love that ad. I played sports. Grade school, high school, and college. I graduated college in 1995, when that ad came out. Holy crap, am I getting old 🙂 The statistics those girls repeat are suspect, but the message means so much… sports make girls strong, in *SO* many ways.

  • Rae January 19, 2011, 2:13 pm

    I’m a solemate for the national marathon!! Its been great so far, and I cant wait to get involved personally after the race!!

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) January 19, 2011, 2:40 pm

    Zico coconut water is my favorite brand!
    haha love the SNL Operation Beautiful note 🙂
    I currently volunteer for and give to both the humane society and the OPS (Oceanic Preservation Society.) I think the thing about volunteering is there’s SO many charities and SOOO many great causes that it can get overwhelming, so you need to hone in on one that youre really passionate about!

  • Ashley January 19, 2011, 2:44 pm

    I volunteered at the Full Belly Project once and it was incredible. They design agricultural equipment out of the most basic things so people in underdeveloped countries can produce food more efficiently. They help create jobs, economy, and feed everyone. Thanks for the information I definitely want to volunteer for GOTR some day soon!

  • Allison @ Happy Tales January 19, 2011, 3:05 pm

    Aw yay!!! I’m going to look into being a solemate for my upcoming marathon… and hopefully a running buddy! Thanks for spreading the word on this, Caitlin!

  • Anita Ruiz January 19, 2011, 3:14 pm

    I have worked for, volunteered and ran for The Leukemia Lymphoma Society Team in Training. It was by far one of the most rewarding and challenging things I have ever done. The organization is wonderful, Fresno California staff is AWESOME and I would recommend this organization to everyone.

  • Kara January 19, 2011, 3:37 pm

    I am passionate about Heifer International because they don’t just help poor people by giving them food, they give them a sustainable way to feed themselves for years. We annually give a large sum to that organization because I feel so strongly about giving people the tools they need to feed their family and move forward with life.

    • Caitlin January 19, 2011, 7:55 pm

      I think Heifer International is an awesome organization! I bought a sheep once for a family.

  • Allison @ Happy Tales January 19, 2011, 3:37 pm

    Oh! I forgot to say that I spent a year as a volunteer with AmeriCorps doing HIV tests and providing medical care and support services to those living with HIV/AIDS. One of the most humbling experienecs in my life! Wouldn’t trade it for the world, and I grew so much 🙂

  • kristina January 19, 2011, 3:39 pm

    I love the girls on the run mission and plan to volunteer my time as soon as I become a little bit better run and can make it through a whole mile without screaming to the world how much I suck at running..

    Gotta get in the right mindframe right? But I commend you on your work with GOTR

  • Lisa January 19, 2011, 3:56 pm

    Thank you for sharing info about GOTR! I have subscribed to your blog for awhile but have been reading more regularly recently and saw you were involved with GOTR. It was new to me and is the type of volunteer opportunity I’ve been looking for. I am signed up to be a coach starting this summer/fall in my local organization. I can’t wait!

    • Caitlin January 19, 2011, 7:56 pm


  • Val @ Balancing Val January 19, 2011, 4:30 pm

    I just had the ZICO mango flavored coconut water yesterday!!

    It was a nice hydrating treat after literally running through the rainy streets of NYC like a crazy woman!!

  • Carmen @ Goodbye Gorda January 19, 2011, 4:30 pm

    GOTR is awesome, it feels like every elem. school in Charlotte has a team, and I would love to be a running buddy soon.

    I’m very passionate about Hands on Charlotte, and I’m a member of their Media/Marketing Communications committee. HOC partners volunteers with a huge group of organizations in town (like the Crisis Assistance Ministry, KIPP school, CMS, senior citizen centers, etc.) It’s great if you’re a newbie to volunteering and you want to find the right fit for you. Plus, the only commitment is to volunteer for one project (1 to 3 hours) every six months.

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life January 19, 2011, 4:34 pm

    You’re done an amazing job getting Operation Beautiful off the ground. It must be so fun to watch it spreading!

  • Sara C. January 19, 2011, 4:36 pm

    Your presentation was fantstic last night and it was so awesome to meet you!! 🙂 Have a great GOTR season!

  • Anne @ butter and bear January 19, 2011, 4:36 pm

    Was your running buddy in the last picture wearing jeans to run the 5K? Might be a fun idea to host a fundraiser/bake sale for the girls during the season in order to buy them running shorts/pants. I hope to be able to volunteer for this great organization next year when my kids are a little older. I can’t think of a better gift to give the youth of today than a love of exercise.

    • Caitlin January 19, 2011, 7:56 pm

      Yea she was – that’s a good idea!

  • PacePal January 19, 2011, 4:55 pm

    It’s great to read about your recent travels. GOTR is an incredible organization. My passion for running and swimming is lifelong and runs deep. I love to coach, mentor, volunteer and simply be a fan at many local events and meets. Also, btw, the oatmeal/coffee breakfast at starbucks is indeed the go to travel breakfast! Thanks!

  • Claire January 19, 2011, 4:58 pm

    I can’t believe you found an Operation Beautiful note! I’ve always wanted to find one 🙂

  • Heather C January 19, 2011, 5:13 pm

    I’m so happy to see this point! Thanks to YOU, I am going to be an assistance coach at a local school here in Northern Virginia! I’m beyond excited about this, as I had been constantly thinking in the past year how unfulfilled I feel, I love my job & have a lot of pride in it yet I know I could do more…GOTR is giving me that opportunity! Thanks for introducing me Caitlin!

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous January 19, 2011, 5:29 pm

    I had the same breakfast! Well, with a sprinkle of nuts on top. You inspired me 🙂 And I agree…if it ain’t broke, why deviate? Whenever I have a hard time figuring out what I’m in the mood to eat, I stick to things I know will at least satisfy me…oatmeal is one of ’em!

  • Sherry January 19, 2011, 5:35 pm

    I love the concept of GOTR. Unfortunately so far in Canada it’s only in the Toronto area, not anywhere near me.

    As far as volunteering goes, I volunteer for Breakfast Club of Quebec which gives a healthy breakfast every school morning in various schools across the province. For only $48 per year (it’s subsidized by the government) the kids get two choices of fruit, yogurt, a choice of juice or milk, and whatever the breakfast of the day is. It’s all healthy and nourishing and I love it so much. I do it twice a week, getting up to the school by 6:30 am to get prepared. It’s all of an hour and a half out of my day and I love doing it; the kids are awesome and my daughter loves that she gets to help on the days we’re both there.

  • Carolyn @ EatWell. LiveWell. BeWell. January 19, 2011, 5:36 pm

    I am passionate about Peace Corps. I volunteered in Thailand from 2005-2007 in a small village running teacher training seminars. I also started a village aerobics group which conducted health seminars in topics like yoga, the importance of exercise, CPR, etc.

  • Aby January 19, 2011, 6:11 pm

    I’m passionate about Girl Scouts USA! I worked for them for 7 summers in a variety of positions, including directing their youth leadership programs at resident camps and it changed my life. They are very progressive and all about empowering girls and young women to be strong, confident and independent but with an additional emphasis on teamwork and sisterhood. Those girls inspired me so much.
    I’m also passionate about LGBTQ rights and do a lot of on-campus and community volunteer work in that field.
    Finally, I am passionate about immigrant rights, esp. for queer bi-national couples because I am half of one! I am from the UK and am living temporarily in the US with my American partner. I want to be able to stay in the US with her, and for other loving couples and families to be able to stay together, regardless of their sexual orientation. I recently started volunteering for Immigration Equality, a wonderful organization dedicated to overturning restrictions on immigration for same-sex couples.

    • Caitlin January 19, 2011, 7:57 pm

      Girls Scouts has some awesome body image YouTube videos, have you seen them?

  • Gloria January 19, 2011, 6:28 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to talk more about GOTR. I didn’t even realize there was a chapter in Buffalo, how cool. It looks like they are mostly in private schools here though. I wonder if girls from other schools can join them?

    As far as an organization that I am passionate about, I absolutely love Storycorps. They travel around the country recording interviews with people from all walks of life, preserving them and sharing them with the world. I think this is so incredibly important. They represent the great diversity that exists among the lives and experiences of Americans, while allowing the listener to feel connected to the person whose story is being told. Some are lighthearted, some are full of sorrow or great joy. They can be very powerful. There are clips on NPR sometimes, but they also have clips available on their website. Enjoy 🙂

  • Danielle January 19, 2011, 6:55 pm

    Im in Australia, we do not have GOTR but I volunteer with the Delta Society. Every fortnight I take my bulldog to a local aged care facility and spend time with residents wand my dog (Delta acreddited/temperament tested). Its wonderful to see them get so excited and I get to do it with my dog 🙂

  • Lauren @ Team Giles January 19, 2011, 7:11 pm

    I’m so excited. I actually sent in my GOTR volunteer application this week! I can’t wait to get started. I’ve been thinking on this for way too long {a year}, and its time to get involved!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss January 19, 2011, 7:35 pm

    I’d love to get involved with GOTR! I’m going to check to see if there’s a group anywhere near me.

  • Tracy @ Commit To Fit January 19, 2011, 7:56 pm

    I have been thinking about volunteering again for some time. This post gave me the push I needed. Thanks Caitlin! I think they have a GOTR council in Toronto 🙂

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin January 19, 2011, 9:20 pm

    This sounds really dorky, but I’m passionate about Girl Guides. I was one for many years, and I came out of it with so much confidence, not to mention friendships and memories.

    • Jennifer January 19, 2011, 9:50 pm

      I’m right there with you! My other name is Brown Owl 🙂

  • lisa January 19, 2011, 9:32 pm

    I contacted my local council, filled out the forms to volunteer and haven’t heard back…how long does it usually take for them to contact you?? I am dying to know if I can be an assistant coach this Spring!

  • Jennifer January 19, 2011, 9:50 pm

    Girl Guides, more specifically Brownies are my group of choice to volunteer with. I started with them over 6 years ago when they didn’t have enough leaders for the group and my daughter wanted to join. I’ve been volunteering with them ever since! My girls are now older and not in my unit anymore, but I just get so much out of teaching and spending time with these girls, as well as the other leaders, I just can’t bear to give it up. It’s a lot of work, this year we have 30 7 and 8 year old girls, including two with special needs, but the are so much fun. Tonight, we made silly putty and had a competition to build the tallest building out of dried spagetti and marshmallows. Lots of mess, but lots of fun! I just couldn’t imagine my life without volunteering and think everyone should find a cause or group to help out with. I’m glad you are having just as much fun as I do with my girls.

  • Marika January 20, 2011, 4:50 am

    Haha, the Operation Beautiful note is a quote from an old SNL sketch :-). I like it– inspiration and a bit of humor!

  • Elizabeth Kunz January 20, 2011, 9:39 am

    Caitlin – thank you so much for joining us at our annual Summit this year! Your speech was powerful and inspirational.

    Oh, and I saw a post it note in the Phoenix airport when we left yesterday! The word is spreading!!

  • Sarah January 20, 2011, 11:46 am

    You have definitely introduced me to GOTR. After all of your great posts, I decided to sign up and am now an assistant coach for a team in Cincinnati, OH. Thank you so much!!

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 3:43 pm

      Thank you for volunteering with GOTR!!!!!

  • Erin @ Big Girl Feats January 20, 2011, 12:17 pm

    I remember watching that Nike video as a middle schooler in 1995 and it still resonates the same way as a 27 year old today. It’s so powerful! Volunteering really does change your life. I was an AmeriCorpsVISTA member for two years post college and it shaped my career, passions, interests and relationships. I loved it and would encourage anyone who can financially, mentally and physically commit a year to national service to do so!

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