CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

Special Features

August 15, 2013

Extracurricular activities need not involve sports

Rare is the child today who returns home immediately after school. Many school-aged children now have busier schedules than their parents. Involvement in an extracurricular activity can help kids make friends while they learn about responsibility. Some extracurricular activities even allow kids to apply lessons learned in the classroom in real-world situations.

Many students play a sport as their extracurricular activity. In fact, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, participation in high school sports increased for the 23rd consecutive year in 2011-12, when nearly 7.7 million student-athletes participated in high school athletics. High schoolers in Canada also frequently turn to sports, where School Sport Canada reports that more than 750,000 school-aged students participate in sports.

Such heavy participation in sports can make it easy for parents to encourage their youngsters to go out for a school team. But not all youngsters want to play sports, and even those who do might not be able to make a team. But lacking the desire or talent to compete in high school sports does not mean students cannot participate in extracurricular activities. The following are a handful of extracurricular activities that can benefit students even if they don’t require them to lace up their cleats.

Volunteering

Volunteering is a great way for school-aged kids to spend some of their free time. Student volunteers can often pick when they want to perform service, and that can make it easier on kids who want to focus on their performance in the classroom. For example, students can focus on their studies on weekdays and volunteer on the weekends. Many organizations, from animal shelters to hospitals, accept student volunteers, who can learn about the benefits of helping others and the importance of making a positive impact in their communities.

Volunteer organizations do not typically require a long-term commitment, so students will not have to continue to volunteer if an organization is not what they hoped it would be. But parents should discuss kids’ interests with them before choosing a volunteering opportunity. For instance, youngsters who love the beach might be best suited to an organization devoted to cleaning up the beach, while animal lovers would likely love to volunteer at a local animal shelter. Finding the right organization will benefit both parties, and parents will be happy to have fostered a sense of responsibility to the community in their youngsters.

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