by Brandon B.
Youth in recreation, sport, or leisure activities get to learn many qualities through playing. Resiliency is one quality that they learn about and eventually learn to master. When I played atom hockey, I would cry after each game we lost. This was something as a young kid that I did not realize was a part of being resilient – that their would always be a next time and that not only would I improve, but my whole team would eventually improve.
Hurtes and Allen (2001) reference Rutter’s (1990) definition that resiliency is “positive pole of the ubiquitous phenomenon of individual difference in people’s responses to stress and adversity (p. 181)”. It was not until I got into junior high sports teams that I learned to be resilient. I am not the only example of this, I have seen youth in physical education classes where they are getting frustrated at the activity because they either do not understand the rules or they do not receive enough support. They reacted like I did. “Resiliency appears to be a useful framework that identifies key skills, attitudes, and abilities that empower youth to successfully negotiate life’s challenges and thereby, promote positive growth and development” (Hurtes & Allen, 2001). As these authors have mentioned, it is about making sure youth programs promote resiliency and teach youth how to bounce back and to be positive when the going gets tough.
Lastly, through these programs, youth will be able to take these skills that they have learned and be able to apply them to everyday adult experiences. As a student who aims to get into teaching later on, I feel I would be able to relate and give any information or support needed so that youth going through resiliency issues will not need to be labelled as the “crybaby” or “sore loser”. I had to deal with those labels. I did not like them, but I know from personal experience that I would be able to work with youth to get through these rough patches in their life.
Six years of volleyball has taught me a lot about resiliency, or at least given me a metaphor. You could be losing to the point where the opposing team only needs one more point to win; however, the game is not done until they get that one point. You still have a chance. University, like volleyball, has taught me that I can get a terrible grade and still pass with a good mark. Resiliency sticks with you, even if youth do not realize that is the skill they are learning. I think the important things for youth in terms of building resilience is the right amount of stress along with balanced coping strategies. If youth are able to begin mastering these aspects, then I believe that they will be able to face anything in their near and distant future. Lastly, resiliency can provide many opportunities other than trying new things. Through coping techniques, youth may experience that making new friends or building those adult relationships can really help them grow as a person overall and speaks to the character that they are.
Hurtes, K.P and Allen, L.R (2001) Measuring resiliency in youth: the resiliency attitudes and skills profile.