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Ramsey Coach Watches Daughter Grow Before His Eyes

Chin runs with daughter Mika.
Chin runs with daughter Mika. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Hoover Chin
The girls do more than run.
The girls do more than run. Photo Credit: Maggie Green

RAMSEY, N.J.– Hoover Chin of Ramsey is one of the rare male coaches for Girls on the Run .

A father of two, Chin loves seeing his daughter, Mika, 11, have an outlet as she grows up before his eyes.

“I’m supposed to be her coach, I’m supposed to be somewhat detached," Chin told Daily Voice."[But] there’s times where I feel like I see things or observe things where I wouldn’t otherwise,.“It’s fun to watch your kid as if they aren’t your kid. There are definitely times where I feel selfish. I get to watch this, I almost get to spy on her. It’s neat to see.”

Girls on the Run, an empowerment program open to girls in grades 3-8, teaches life skills through conversation-based lessons and running games. It all culminated in a 5K.

Mika joined six seasons ago. Her father became a running coach so he could spend more time with her.

The organization employs three different curricula. And while some of the exercises different from session to session, or year to year, the themes ordinarily are the same.

The "well-defined lesson plan" covers topics such as beauty, gratitude, meditation, managing stress, and gossiping, said Chin, who works for the pharmaceutical giant Astra Zeneca.

During one session, the girls raced from one end of the field to the other, yelling out what beauty means to them and what they find beautiful.

"You see them grow up and you watch them talk through social issues," Chin said. "You see their minds clicking as they process it."

Gender issues and roles always interested Chin, who was graduated from Vassar College, a former all-women’s school.

Being part of Girls on the Run allows the coach "to be a kid again." But he also gets a unique perspective.

“The girls talk, we get to listen," he said. "For me, that’s the best part.”

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