We believe that youth sports programs encourage and promote healthy strong kids, families and communities by placing a priority on family involvement, healthy competition rather than rivalry, the value of participation over winning, team building as well as individual development, a positive self-image and a sense of fair play and mutual respect for others.
Given Minnesota’s culturally diverse demographic, challenges arise on how to bond everyone together. One vehicle to overcome these challenges is the continued use of Sports to unite our youth into one cohesive unit. One example of a sport which embraces our goal is soccer. As a team sport, soccer promotes fairness and tolerance. The game helps to overcome barriers between the sexes, facilitate mutual understanding, and contribute towards positive personality and character development. It provides lessons in strategies of peaceful debate, nurtures the ability to handle defeat and shapes personality. We look to utilize the social and educational potential of soccer and sport in general for youth development. We encourage socially disadvantaged young girls and boys in such a way that they are able to take charge of their own lives and shape them in a positive manner.
As stated earlier, communities are being burdened with a continued increase in obesity among the youth. Clinical studies also show that sports and recreation programs can help youth establish lifelong, healthy, physical activity patterns. Regular physical activity can ward off life-threatening diseases; reduce feelings of depression and anxiety; help control weight and obesity; and build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints, according to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.
We use the convening power of sports as a vehicle to minimize the effects of poverty on marginalized youth and young adult populations. Through sports, we are able to bring individuals from all backgrounds and social statuses together in a relaxed and natural environment that is ideal for exploring serious and sensitive issues. We believe that sports instill the critical “can do” outlook that is vital to a child’s successful educational development. And, we believe in the power of sport to create lasting individual and social change.
Sport is helping young people to claim space, build self-esteem, develop leadership skills and strengthen social relationships.
Sport and sport-based programs promote leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, networking, negotiation skills and enhance youth empowerment.