Kids Don't Just Wanna Have Fun, They Also Want Values in Sports Programs

Kids Don't Just Wanna Have Fun, They Also Want Values in Sports Programs

Sep 21, 2003 6:00 PM

Fun is a necessary ingredient in keeping kids interested in sports and physical activities, but learning about values such as caring for others and self-respect is just as important, according to a study by researchers at the University of Utah and San Francisco State University.

The study, to be published this month in Urban Review, was conducted by Doris L. Watson, Ph.D., and Maria Newton, Ph.D., assistant professors of exercise and sport science at the U's College of Health, and Mi-Sook Kim, Ph.D., of San Francisco State University.

They surveyed 62 boys and 68 girls, ages 10-13, who participated in the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) at the University of Utah in 2001. The respondents are ethnically diverse from underserved communities.

Researchers found that participants who perceived the instructional climate as focused on core values enjoyed sports and remained interested. They also expressed interest in attending NYSP the following summer.

Analysis revealed that values education increased sports enjoyment and interest, positive future expectations, and respect for leaders.

NYSP, a federally funded program administered by the National Youth Sports Corporation, contracts with academic institutions such as the U College of Health to run the summer program, in which children participate in sports and educational activities and receive physical examinations, dental screenings, and immunizations. Everything's free, including daily lunches and snacks.

The program aims to enhance the quality of participants' lives by encouraging positive physical, mental, and social development. Unlike traditional programs, NYSP does not consider sports proficiency as its main goal.

Newton said the research evaluated the impact of NYSP to shed light on the importance of similar values-based programs.

"We are trying to understand how certain aspects of programs such as NYSP affect kids," she said. "We believe that movement has the potential to foster positive psychological and social development because of the joy kids associate with being active. We not only want kids to be fitter as a result of attending NYSP, but also kinder and more caring individuals."

# # #

Visit our News Archive for a complete list of previous News.