A CNN report this year indicated that by age 14 girls begin to drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys. By age 17, about 51% of girls have stopped playing sports entirely. 70% of those girls that quit simply say they didn't feel like they belong in sports. Well, let's hear it for the girls, because JumpBunch knows they do belong in sports!
We often speak the words "building healthy habits early". This statement applies directly to what is described above. Our classes are not designed to build super athletes or focus on one particular thing at too early of an age. Instead, our goal is to simply make sports a fun thing to do. We hope to build confidence in kids to embrace new things and teach them not to fear but simply to try! It takes time to build a habit, positive or negative. So getting kids (boys and girls) involved in sport and fitness activities early gives you more time to emphasize having fun, being healthy, and doing new things without fear. When the time comes for them to make their own choices, this experience can help ensure those decisions are based on what they want and not the influence of others who aren't so sure of themselves.
A girl not feeling like they belong in sports as they get older is simply not an acceptable outcome. Being confident that "they can" means a girl is less likely to give in and not do something they would likely enjoy regardless of their age. Sports helps build skills like teamwork, communication, and work ethic that are essential well beyond the games. Let's all make sure we are sending the right messages that girls do belong so they walk away with valuable lessons for taking part in sports. As a parent I understand that I should be the first one to send that message...verbally and visibly.
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