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When Fun Fulfills a Purpose

Oct 24, 2016 03:33AM, Published by Family Features, Categories: Family Features Lifestyle, Family Features



Parents know there is a small window of time to make a meaningful, positive impact on children and shape who they may become as adults. A large portion of that influence comes at home, but it often also involves school, friends and extracurricular activities, many of which can help families make the most out of childhood experiences.

In fact, an increasing number of families are introducing youth to enrichment programs before kids begin their formal education. A survey by Forrester found that millennial parents are more likely to engage their children in activities at a younger age. They want to introduce their children to a diverse set of experiences, allowing children to discover their talents and skills.

Balancing this heightened level of engagement with the demands of hectic family schedules means parents are increasingly challenged to select the most meaningful activities for their children.

While most extracurricular activities help children socialize and learn new skills, some go further in areas like character building, good citizenship and exploring future goals. Often, the most effective programs work to deliver those outcomes without focusing on them, subtly teaching skills through activities young people consider fun.

Consider Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, which most associate with camping and outdoor adventures. While boys spend time transforming a block of wood into a race car and learning how to shoot an arrow, the underlying program helps create a strong foundation of leadership, service and community.

A study conducted by Tufts University of kids ages 6-12 found that youth who participate in scouting exhibit strong moral values and positive character attributes, allowing them to embrace new opportunities, overcome obstacles and become better prepared for future success.

As one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based, youth-development organizations in the country, Boy Scouts of America is applying this proven approach in introducing new programs designed to reach youth who may not be interested in building fires.

“Scouting offers youth and their families life-changing experiences they can’t get anywhere else – from outdoor adventure to building robots, youth learn the value of hard work and experience the thrill of it paying off,” said Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive for Boy Scouts of America. “With new programs designed specifically to expand their potential and explore their personal interests, Boy Scouts of America isn’t just an after-school activity. We are helping pave pathways to bright futures.”

According to Surbaugh, scouting programs are focused on providing experiences that youth and their parents want. From astronomy and other STEM-based skills for future professionals to outdoor adventure, such as camping and paddle boarding, scouting can give direction to the curiosity youth have for life.

Encouraging new experiences
In an effort to further expand unique experiences for youth, Boy Scouts of America has introduced several innovative programs that bring exciting opportunities to youth and families.

Lion: Research has shown that involving kids in scouting at a young age builds character and better prepares them for future success. Rooted in understanding the impact and importance of involving kids in scouting at an early age, the Lion pilot program, currently available in 201 councils across the country, combines concepts of character development, leadership skills, personal fitness and citizenship with age-appropriate, fun activities for kindergarten-age boys and their parents.

STEM Scouts: Jobs in STEM-related fields are expected to grow 17 percent by 2018, and salaries in those fields are on average 26 percent higher than salaries for other disciplines. With STEM-related careers on the rise, the STEM Scouts pilot program helps boys and girls learn more about science, technology, engineering and math through interactive, hands-on activities. The program, currently piloted in 20 councils, helps youth prepare for the future by conducting experiments and learning about lesser-known innovators to demonstrate to youth that people with similar backgrounds to their own can become accomplished STEM professionals.

Exploring: The expanded Exploring program offers youth and young adults, ages 14-20, real-world career experiences that help young men and women build confidence and discover fields where they may find their passion and excel in a future career, such as law enforcement, firefighting, aviation, engineering, medicine and others.
Learn more about scouting programs and how to get involved in your community at beascout.org.

Charting a path
The decision to involve your family or child in an extracurricular activity requires several considerations. After all, these activities can help youth build a stable foundation of values and character that help them reach their full potential.

When choosing activities for your children to become involved with at an early age, consider the following:

  1. Diverse experiences. Look for programs that offer a multitude of experiences to keep it fresh and interesting for your child.

  2. Experienced mentors. Evaluate the training volunteers and staff members go through to ensure your child gets the best experience possible.

  3. Build a solid foundation. Ask questions about how the organization teaches children about values and character.

  4. Start early. Getting youth involved in extracurricular activities at a young age can help with their development.

  5. Maximize your time. Extracurricular activities can be time consuming, but many organizations like Boy Scouts of America provide flexibility for families’ busy schedules. Make sure to ask questions about required meetings or activities to ensure the program fits with your schedule.

Sponsored by Boy Scouts of America




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    Come celebrate the 120th anniversary of St. Therese of Lisieux's entrance into heaven! Feast ...


  • St. Therese Feast Day Mass

    10/02/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Come celebrate the 120th anniversary of St. Therese of Lisieux's entrance into heaven! Feast ...


  • Tri-Cities Exchange Club Breakfast

    10/03/2017
    07:00AM — 08:00AM

    Every Tuesday morning, 7-8am, men and women meet for breakfast at Colonial Cafe on Randall Road, ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/03/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Wednesday Walking Club

    10/04/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    Wednesdays, April 5–October 25, 8–9 AM Free drop-in program for all ages Get fit the old-fashio...


  • Wednesday Walking Club

    10/04/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    Wednesdays, April 5–October 25, 8–9 AM Free drop-in program for all ages Get fit the old-fashio...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/04/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Learn from the Experts: Fall Tree Identification

    10/04/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    This field class will begin with an introduction to basic plant morphology needed for tree identi...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    10/04/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/04/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • NUHS Massage Therapy Info Session

    10/04/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Are you wondering whether a career in massage therapy is right for you? Explore our Massage Thera...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Nature Tykes (for 3 year olds)

    10/05/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    In this program, for 3-year olds and their parents, grandparents or guardians, we’ll explore the ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/05/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Senior Stroll

    10/05/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Seniors are invited to join District naturalists each month on a leisurely stroll through a Kane ...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    10/05/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Little Naturalists

    10/05/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    In this hour-long program for 4-5-year olds, children will discover the wonders of nature through...


  • The Holmstad Helping Hearts

    10/05/2017
    01:30PM — 02:30PM

    Findings from an Alzheimer's Association survey released in June 2017 show that while people over...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/05/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • A cooperative program between the Town and Country Library and the Kane County Genealogical Society.


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/05/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Breakfast for a Cause

    10/06/2017
    07:30AM — 09:00AM

    Please join us for breakfast, fellowship and our program: Moving Up From Poverty: Three Steps Fo...


  • Moms Connect

    10/06/2017
    09:00AM — 10:15AM

    St. John Lutheran Church at 7214 South Cass Avenue in Darien, IL will sponsor a new Bible-based s...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/06/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Story Time at Creek Bend Nature Center

    10/06/2017
    10:30AM — 11:00AM

    Treat your child to Story Times at Creek Bend Nature Center. This popular program series is for c...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/06/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • FREE Monthly Family Story Time

    10/06/2017
    05:30PM — 06:30AM

    Join us for this month's free Story Time featuring a spring theme. Spots are filling up quickly. ...


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/06/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • I Love A Piano

    10/06/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    ESO favorites Rich Ridenour, piano and Brandon Ridenour, trumpet, will bring the house down with ...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/06/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Live Entertainment: DJ

    10/06/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort every Friday for live ente...


  • Women's Fellowship Breakfast

    10/07/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    St. John Lutheran Church at 7214 South Cass Avenue in Darien, IL will host a Women’s Fellowship B...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/07/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/07/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/07/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/07/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/07/2017
    07:30PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • I Love A Piano

    10/07/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    ESO favorites Rich Ridenour, piano and Brandon Ridenour, trumpet, will bring the house down with ...


  • Live Music

    10/07/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort for live bands every Satur...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/07/2017
    09:45PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Bourbon Street Brunch

    10/08/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Join us on historic Boubon Street every Sunday for a unique brunch buffet! Enjoy all your favorit...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    10/08/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/08/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • I Love A Piano

    10/08/2017
    02:30PM — 04:30PM

    ESO favorites Rich Ridenour, piano and Brandon Ridenour, trumpet, will bring the house down with ...


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/08/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/09/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Tri-Cities Exchange Club Breakfast

    10/10/2017
    07:00AM — 08:00AM

    Every Tuesday morning, 7-8am, men and women meet for breakfast at Colonial Cafe on Randall Road, ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/10/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Family Talk

    10/10/2017
    07:00PM — 09:30PM

    Finding an ancestor's town of origin can be exciting. Once this piece of information is found, on...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


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