The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletics Association has partnered with the National Federation of State High School Associations to help launch a social media campaign highlighting the benefits of participation in high school extracurricular activities and sports.
Using #MyReasonWhy, the WIAA and NFHS encourage student-athletes, parents and coaches to share positive stories in order to persuade communities to continue the investment of time and resources in extracurricular programs even during tough economic times, motivated by the belief that participation in sports and other activities can ease students’ transition from middle to high school, promote a healthy lifestyle, and increase their overall sense of belonging.
According to Lake Country Now, extracurricular programs for athletics, music, drama, speech, debate, and others take up only between one and three percent of most high school budgets, while the return on investment is significant and personal, affecting more than fifty percent of the student body.
The NFHS conducted a study of 140,000 high school students at various schools in Kansas, and found a strong correlation between participation in extracurriculars and higher GPA, graduation rate and scores on state assessments. Other studies have shown that high school students who participate in sports are less likely to carry a weapon, smoke, use illegal drugs or alcohol, miss school, dropout, or exhibit suicidal behavior.
“I’m certainly not saying that these programs should be retained in favor of cutting teachers or staff,” wrote Travis Wilson, general manager of Wissports.net. “…but considerations should be made to continue and expand extra-curricular opportunities whenever available,”
Wilson then shared his own story of personal growth. “As a player, coach, official and now as a member of the media, I’ve had the somewhat unique opportunity to see all aspects of the high school sports experience, and it continues to solidify the idea that athletics in schools are significant positives, participation should be encouraged wherever possible, and that my own experiences in high school sports have and continue to pay dividends in many areas. And that is #MyReasonWhy,” he wrote. Read his full story at lakecountrynow.com and check out more of the MyReasonWhy campaign here.