No risk to play: The impact of sport programs on at-risk youth

Graham Cox & Matt Lawson / February 14, 2019

Introduction to teamwork is one way sport can benefit at-risk youth.
(Pexels)

Youth are amongst the most vulnerable people in the world. They are at a very influential time in life and an important stage of their mental development. In today’s society, youth have more distractions than ever and are spending more time in isolation as a result of technology.

For some, this isolation combined with tough life experience within their community can significantly impact their ability to cope with the challenges of growing up. Constable Ian Macdonald with the Abbotsford Police Department says that there is an easy solution that can help combat these challenges, while assisting with the positive development of at-risk youth: organized sports.

More studies are showing the positive impact that sports, exercise, and fitness can have on at-risk youth and it has resulted in an increase of these sport programs becoming available in British Columbia.

So it raises the questions, what kind of benefits or skills do youth participants stand to gain from such programs and why is it important these programs continue to grow?

“The formula for success is remarkably simple. At-risk youth, like all people, need social interactions and investments of time from others. They also need to be provided an opportunity to achieve positive outcomes. Sports provides all of the above and more. It provides mentorship, friendship, leadership and achievement through skill development. Sports also positively occupies time that is often used in less positive activities by at-risk youth.” – Const. Ian Macdonald, Abbotsford Police Department / Kidsport volunteer

Constable Ian MacdonaldAbbotsford Police Department / Kidsport volunteer