“Joy is contagious, just like the coronavirus.”
A young girl spouted the quote during Run Girl Run in Dayton Monday evening, earning a round of giggles from her peers. I laughed, too, then immediately wrote it down in my notebook to add to my poster board of quotes near my desk.
I learned a lot about contagions Monday with the 12 third- through fifth-grade girls participating in Run Girl Run this season. It’s their last week and the new Wyoming Girls on the Run curriculum picked up by Lacie Schwend, assistant director of the Tongue River Valley Community Center, featured joy as the topic of the week.
I won’t give too much away, as I’m writing a feature on how the group has transitioned this year, but I loved the idea of teaching young girls how to spread joy and other things. An activity required one girl to keep a straight face while the other girls tried making her laugh. Giggles and silliness are certainly contagious.
The desire to share personal stories about wins and losses during the week is also contagious.
Smiles are most certainly contagious, as is orneriness.
And the girls know, obviously, that COVID-19 is contagious. What they also know now, though, is teamwork and supporting one another and joy can also be contagious. Sometimes you have to work at it.
It seems as though our community in certain moments of the ongoing pandemic is equally as worried about catching joy as they are the virus. It’s unfortunate. What’s fortunate, though, are the many people who choose to unabashedly spread happiness, which creates that inner feeling of joy. Take for example The Sheridan Press’ kindness corner. People submit small paragraphs of great things happening around our community, and we share them daily in our print edition and on our social media platforms. It’s a real picker-upper and about as popular as our Dog of the Day, which also spread happiness far and wide during the rougher pandemic days.
The girls, despite not being stoked to run their laps at the end of the Run Girl Run practice Monday, spread joy by giggling their way through warm-ups and answering honestly the question, “What brings you joy?” on a sheet of paper in between laps.
As the girls prep for their culminating event — The Ranchester Railway 5K hosted at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Tongue River Valley Community Center in Ranchester, 124 Dayton St., $5 if you preregister and $10 for day-of sign-ups — take a page from their book and spread joy.