Startling new data reveal dire state of school athletics
You’ve heard the knock on your door or seen the forms in the company break room. Once the school year kicks in, young salespeople and their parents take to the neighborhood streets or start calling in favors at the office to get you to buy a few items to support a school fundraiser.
Whether it’s discount cards or cookie dough, you’re not just buying product or helping the neighborhood kids win prizes. You are keeping one of the most important elements of a child’s development alive — youth athletics.
Funding for youth athletics has been declining sharply with recent studies estimating billions of dollars cut in the last few school years. This summer, Johnson City, TN school officials facing a $1.1 million shortage stopped just short of eliminating all school sports in the district.
Take a look at some of the findings from a report done by the SHARP Center:
Furthermore, Up2Us, an organization that also works to improve youth sports in the U.S., reported that 40% of the nation’s school districts are implementing “pay-to-play,” a system of adding participation fees that makes it harder for children from low-income families to join the activities.
The same study from Up2Us showed evidence that students who play sports realize some real benefits from their participation. They are significantly more likely to stay in school and go to college and are better at managing emotions, resolving conflict and resisting peer pressure.
So the next time you open the door to a bright-eyed young athlete asking you to make a small purchase to support their school team, rest assured you’re buying more than a deal at the neighborhood restaurant or package of sweet treats. You’re buying a better future for the child at your door.
How have youth athletics changed your life for the better? Share your thoughts and this post on your social media pages!