The African proverb which wisely states “It takes a village to raise a child,” flawlessly correlates to the positive impact youth sports facilities have on both small and large communities. Youth sports facilities have a unique ability to serve multiple purposes in communities. They provide families with a valuable resource for after school care in an environment that is focused on physical fitness. They are also economically viable entities that offer a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards to the people they serve.
According to the article entitled “The Importance of After-School Programs” (Hutton, 2016), more than fourteen million students leave school everyday with nowhere to go but home. Unfortunately for many youths, home is not a safe haven. The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center (NYVPRC) reported that youths who go directly home after school instead of to a structured after school activity are 49% more likely to use narcotics or engage in illicit behaviors. (Hutton, 2016). Unfortunately there is an elevated risk for unsupervised students after school since most twelve to sixteeen year olds do not have the maturity or discipline to make good choices for themselves.
Youth sports facilities are fortunately becoming more recognized for their value to communities, “…there is an emphasis on fun while establishing a balance between physical fitness, psychological well-being, and lifelong lessons for a healthy and active lifestyle.” (Merkel, 2013) Youths have an opportunity to participate in a variety of team sports after school when they go to youth sports facilities. Participating in afterschool sports has multiple benefits ranging from the development of camaraderie among team players to learning how to follow directions and adhere to the rules of a variety of sports. “Organized sports have been shown to assist in breaking the vicious cycle of inactivity and unhealthy lifestyle choices by improving caloric expenditures, increasing time spent away form entertainment media, and minimizing snacking.” (Merkel, 2013) When youths participate in sports they are more likely to be physically fit which will ultimately have a favorible effect on self worth.
While there are several positive social outcomes from an increase in youth sports facilities being built, there are also several positive economic gains for communities. Since “nearly 70% of youths, ages 6-17, are playing a team sport,” (Smith, Tisdale, Avenue ISR, 2012) youth sports facilities are capable of hosting a variety of tournaments. Tournaments naturally will bring revenue to both small and large communities. Communities will benefit from the fact that most events last between two and three days. Out of town tournament participants will stay in local hotels and frequent local restaurants and shops. Regional as well as national vendors will set up booths at youth sports facilities in order to sell tournament products. A substantial percentage of the money generated will go directly back into the host community.
Youth sports facilities are crucial assets to communities. They offer a sense of security for working families who naturally want a structured after school environment for their children. Research has shown that youth sports facilities are instrumental in the positive development and socialization of youths. Participating in afterschool sports has been proven to assist in lowering obesity rates among teenagers. Team sports also teach youths the importance of following directions, respecting fellow team members, and creating a feeling of belonging. Youth sports faciliites are also a natural boost to struggling economies which will inevitably benefit from the monetary gains achieved by youth sports facilities.
- Smith, Sherwood B., Tisdale, Ann, & ISR Avenue (September 18, 2012). Game On! The Impact of Youth Sports on a regional economy. Retrieved from http://tcchamber.org
- Merkel, Donna (May 31, 2013) Youth Sport: postive and negative impact on young athletes. Retrieved from http://ncbi.nim.nih.gov
- Hutton, Lindsay (2016) The Importance of After-School Programs. Retrieved from http://school.familyeducation.com