Students attending summer school at the McLeod Basic School in Highlight View, Papine, are encouraged to get involved in sports in their schools and communities, and to make good use of the many benefits that can result from their participation.
Director of Corporate Services, Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Errol Gardner, who addressed the students on Wednesday, July 17, on the topic: ‘Sports in Youth Development,’ said that in addition to the physical benefits to the body, sports can provide academic opportunities, self-esteem enhancement, and act as a deterrent to negative behaviour.
He noted that through involvement in sports, many Jamaican students have gained scholarships to universities overseas.
To earn scholarships, students must also be performing well academically.
Mr. Gardener said that the Inter-Secondary Schools’ Sports Association (ISSA), the body which controls high school sports in Jamaica, is insisting that students maintain good grades. “So it is important that you study and you must do your homework,” he advised.
Mr. Gardner told the group of students, who are involved in the ‘Teach the Youth’ outreach programme, organised by the University of Technology’s (UTech) Students’ Union, that sports can also help to build pride, self-esteem, and confidence.
He noted further that being in a team and interacting with a coach will allow them to express themselves. He said that involvement in sports also helps to build discipline, as “when you are a part of a team there are dos and don’ts; you must have good behaviour and show respect” and also listen to the coach.
Stating that sports can serve as a deterrent to negative behaviour, Mr. Gardner shared his experience as a coach of an inner-city football team, where he has seen sports act as an integrating force among rival communities. “Sports help to bring down tensions and can build up communities,” Mr. Gardner stated.
During a lively question and answer segment, the students, whose ages range from four to 16, sought the advice of the football coach on how they should react to various incidents on the playing field.
His advice to nine-year old Kyle Alreige of Mona Heights Primary, who asked about the appropriate response to a hard foul on a teammate, is that the aggrieved player and team members should not react with aggression. “That’s why there are referees. Don’t respond with aggression. Just leave that alone,” he instructed.
To 12-year old Grove Primary student, Maharaj Harrison, who asked how a goalkeeper should react when verbally attacked by team-mates after conceding a goal, Mr. Gardner said in a case such as this the support of the team mates is crucial. “Everyone makes mistakes,” and it is “not always about winning”.
Highlight View is among five communities benefitting from the Teach the Youth programme. The others are August Town, Kintyre, Tavern and Sandy Park.
Centre Manager, Andrew Blake, told JIS News that the project is proceeding well and attendance has grown to over 80 students.
“The feedback from the community is that the programme is very good and the parents say they want it to happen again,” he stated.
The outreach programme, which runs from July 8 to 26, is being sponsored by the JIS, Junior Chamber International, Food for the Poor, Reggae Jammins, and Supreme Venture.