More than one-third of Canadian children cannot participate in sports or recreational activities due to financial barriers. Through sports, children are able to establish a pattern of physical activity that continues on into adulthood, helping to build self-esteem, leadership skills and social skills.
With the financial support of Athletics for Kids (www.a4k.ca), these children can turn their participation in sports into a greater learning tool, where they can discover team-building skills, learn how to cope with failure, increase their confidence and build character.
Sport helps Canadian youth by:
Keeping children and youth active and healthy
- Regular participation in physical activity during childhood and adolescence can help build a healthy body, control weight, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
Using sport to reduce youth health risk behaviours
- Young athletes are more likely than non-athletes to eat healthily and weigh less, and less likely to smoke cigarettes, use drugs, engage in sexual activity, or be bored or hopeless.
Fostering positive youth development
- Sport contributes positively to adolescent identity formation, a critical step in the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Sport also facilitates friendships and positive social relations.
Enhancing academic achievement
- Sport and physical education can help improve young people’s school attendance, behaviour, and academic achievement.
Teaching positive values and life skills
- Sport offers young people a means to gain and enhance a range of life skills that can improve their chances of finding employment, raise their level of income, and make them more optimistic and willing to volunteer in the community.
Preventing youth crime and gang involvement
- Youth who participate in sport are less likely to engage in delinquent behaviour and have lower rates of criminal arrest.