Extracurriculars broaden experiences

From the The Brunswick News

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.

“Kids have a lot of down time that needs to be filled. They can fill that time with extracurriculars at school or at an organizations like ours,” said Brian Dolan, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Georgia.

“It’s extremely important to mold the whole child. Sports, arts, beta club, chess club, etc.. they (extracurricular) help grow the mind, body and soul,” Dolan said.

Extracurricular activities boost students confidence levels and encourage camaraderie, students who are involved at school or other areas around the community are more likely to graduate at all levels of academia.

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 studentathletes participated in high school athletics.

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.

Beyond sports, there are other ways to develop team-building and leadership skills in extracurricular activities.

Volunteering is a great way for schoolaged 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.

Some youngsters might not know the difference between a first down or the first inning. But many kids who are not inclined to play sports may be inclined to play a musical instrument. AnAnd some kids are inclined to play both a sport and try their hand at music.

By the time a student reaches college, the opportunities for extracurricular activities increase along with the course offerings.

Jaime Parker-Lewis, director of the Campus Center and Student Life at College of Coastal Georgia, says, “Students who are engaged earn higher grades, are more likely to persist to graduation and report higher satisfaction with the college experience.”

College of Coastal Georgia has lots of active extracurricular opportunities for its students, including athletics, wellness activities such as kayaking and intramural sports, a student fitness center with group exercise classes and equipment for individual use.

There are also events sponsored by the college, such as movies and dances, educational fairs and the opportunities to participate in more than 30 student-run organizations.

Events at the college can be attended by as few as 20 people involved in a club or as many as 300 students at an athletic event.

Parker-Lewis says dances and movies are the most popular events among students, but many students take advantage of the fitness center and the game room on a daily basis between classes.

Students who are involved in clubs or student run organizations learn valuable lessons in leadership and organization they will take with them to their careers or wherever they go.

“Involved students learn leadership skills that will transfer to any major or career. Students may just attend one event sponsored by our office or a student organization and find themselves leading or starting their own organization within the next year,” Parker-Lewis said.

For students unsure about whether to venture beyond the classroom, campus activities can provide numerous benefits.

Joining a student club or organization is a great way for college students to meet fellow students, professors and other people of note on campus. This is especially beneficial for first-year college students, whose social circle may otherwise be limited to roommates or fel idents of their dormitories.

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Release Date: 8/1/2013
Source: The Brunswick News