Exposure to extracurricular activities crucial

I was reminded this past weekend of the extra values that sports and extracurricular activities play in the lives of our children.
We look at recreation sports as being lifelong activities that we can enjoy, and hope that by exposing our children to them that they, too, will enjoy those activities throughout their lives.
This past weekend, I renewed my acquaintance with Curt Murphy. Curt is the same age as my son, Brendan, and the two competed against each other in swimming from the time they were 10 through to high school graduation.
Curt would billet at our house when the Thunder Bay swimming team visited Fort Frances and Brendan regularly would be found at the Murphy household in Thunder Bay.
They went their separate ways off to universities. Curt went up the road to Lakehead U., where this year he will graduate with a kinesiology degree and already has accepted a position coaching in Nanaimo, B.C.
My son went off to Guelph and although he didn’t swim competitively at the university level, he has continued to enjoy swimming and plays water polo.
His cousin, Jeff Plumridge, who also swam at the same time, today is the captain of the Guelph swim team, having continued his enjoyment of swimming through university.
And his teaching lessons at the pool may be one of the reasons he is looking to go into teaching as a career.
And then there was Ashley Giles, who swam with the Rainy River team, who now coaches with the Cyclone here in Fort Frances.
Other swimmers who passed through the program have become teachers or are well on their way to becoming one.
In other sports and extracurricular activities, doors are being opened to the youth of our community. Hockey scholarships have been extended to players from the Thunder.
Youth who have participated in the drama and musical productions at the high school have gone into theatre and the performing arts.
Often, those are the activities which give youth of our community a different platform on which to excel and determine their future opportunities.
The cost of playing hockey, music lessons, competitive swimming, training for gymnastics, and dance lessons is not inexpensive. But they are vital to the community in that they provide additional opportunities.
Exposure to other activities beyond school is really important. Today when health officials all across the western hemisphere worry about the health and weight of our youth, it becomes more evident that communities must continue to have facilities available—and affordable to all.

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