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Encourage your child to join a club!

September 13, 2018
Jodi L Smith , MOV Parent

The benefits of youth participating in extracurricular activities after school are enormous. Organizations like the Afterschool Alliance have been advocating for quality after-school programs for years, and today, there are many opportunities for youth during out-of-school time. In addition to school-based extracurricular activities, many local youth organizations have educational and fun after-school programs. Organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, Scouts, and 4-H have great programs with proven track records, and in many states these programs have partnered together to offer even more opportunities for children.

According to the Child Trends Databank, children who "consistently participate in after-school activities are more likely to attend college, vote, and volunteer later in life." Many studies have shown that involvement in after-school programs improves school attendance, and that in turn leads to higher academic achievements.

A recent study at Ohio State University revealed that children who belong to a youth club "gain a stronger sense of who they are as a person." The study also indicated that involvement in clubs also helps keep children from getting into trouble. "The more kids participate in these clubs, the better self concept they have," said Dawn Anderson-Butcher, an associate professor of social work at Ohio State. "And then the self concept makes children less vulnerable to engaging in problem behaviors."

Anderson-Butcher goes on to say that it is important that children build relationships with other adult role models which will lead to positive changes in their lives. These relationships take time to build, so it is important to encourage a child to give a new club a chance and to continue to go back. "It takes time for children to develop an attachment for the club to feel committed to it, like they have ownership of it."

There are numerous other benefits of involvement in extracurricular clubs. Some include learning diversity, increasing self-esteem, making new friends, building relationships with caring adult role models, learning teamwork, and more. Studies have continued to show that participation in after-school programs "improves students' school performance, as well as their expectations for the future. In one study, students increased their standardized test scores by percentages almost twice that of other students. Principals and administrators frequently cite after-school programs as a reason for school improvement."

For information on how to get your child involved in an afterschool program or what programs are available in your area, contact a schools or a local youth service organization. Many groups have excellent after-school programs: the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and 4-H (contact your local WVU or OSU Extension Service Offices for information about 4-H programs in your area).

Resources

Afterschool Alliance - www.afterschoolalliance.org

Child Trends Databank - www.childtrendsdatabank.org

Ohio State University. "Youth clubs strengthen kids' self image to keep them out of trouble." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2010. .

Jodi Smith is the extension educator for WVU Extension Service.

 
 

 

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