By: Kayla P.
Youth today depend solely on technology to communicate with their peers. It’s rare to see them communicating face-to-face, even if they are in the same room. There is usually a cell phone being used to do the talking. The number of youth who prefer to spend their time indoors and lack interest in being outside playing with their peers continues to grow. In the article “Risks and Benefits of Social Media for Children and Adolescents” it states that “75% of teenagers now own cell phones, with 54% of them using them for texting, 24% for instant messaging, and 25% for social media access” (McBride, 2011). Youth are so dependent on technology that they forget what it really means to have “fun”. The goal is to introduce youth with activities and programs that will challenge them as well as open their eyes to more important things.
Positive youth development through extra-curricular activities can also have a positive school-related effect for the child. Engagement in moderate extra-curricular activities during adolescence promotes positive school-related affects and greater academic performance (Kao & Salerno, 2013). Extra-curricular activities can help youth to learn to be more social face-to-face helping them to better their social skills with peers and adults. Everything youth learn from activities or programs may help them be more motivated to do well in school, and also want to try harder. It will help them develop more positive attitudes, which could lead to better grades.
There are many different ways that coaches/leaders/teachers etc. can help facilitate positive youth development still within the school environment, but after hours. First the after-school programs must be led by positive volunteers/leaders, who can help bring out the best in each individual who takes part based on their individual needs. The instructors must show a tremendous amount of support, patience, and understanding and show them that they are open to any questions/suggestions that may arise in the program. As we discussed in class, there are many values of after-school programs; they create supportive relationships with the adults involved as well as their peers. It can also be seen as a place where youth feel safe, and also provides them with opportunities to learn.
Growing up, I was involved with the Boys & Girls Club program. I would go everyday after school and I loved every minute of it. I met so many new people, and built great relationships with everyone involved. The leaders were extremely caring, and fun to be around. They would always go out of their way to ensure each individual felt comfortable being there and encouraged them to participate in all activities. Being surrounded by such nice and caring people made it a lot easier to go every single day. I was a very shy kid but this program was extremely welcoming. They provided me with great support and were a very understanding group.
Finally, we must recognize the importance of extra-curricular activities and after-school programs and the impact they have on youth. Positive youth development (such as participating in extra-curricular activities) is fundamental for the development of a nation of healthy, happy, competent, productive, and satisfying adults (Kao & Salerno, 2013). Due to this statement, along side class material is a continuous reinforcement that extra-curricular activities and after-school programs bring positive experiences and outcomes to youth development. This being said, it is vital that youth today continue to have the opportunity to participate in these kinds of activities/programs.
Class Notes from November 6th
Kao, T. & Salerno, J. (2013). Keeping adolescents busy with extracurricular activities. The Journal of School Nursing, 30, 57-67.
McBride, D. (2011). Risks and benefits of social media for children and adolescents. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 26, 498-499.