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Research Reviews

Youth Sport Programs: An Avenue to Foster Positive Youth Development

Jessica L. Fraser-Thomas, Jean Cote, and Janic Deakin

The Big Idea 

Richard Feynman (1918-1988), the celebrated theoretical physicist, once wrote about an experience he had while visiting Hawaii.  It was suggested that he visit a Buddhist monk who lived high up in the mountains.  He did so.  Somewhere in their discussion, the monk told Feynman something he never forgot.  The monk said: “To Man is given the key to the gates of heaven; the same key opens the gates of hell.”

When we talk of youth sport programs, this is one human lived experience where we actually see how the same key works both gate locks. Since we are obviously capable of designing many such kinds of programs, it is a good thing to know the difference between heavenly and hellish designs. This paper helps us know the difference.

Why is this important?  Because growing up may be more difficult for youngsters today than even just a generation ago.  Behaviour problems, emotional stress, depression, alcohol and drug use, school dropout—all key indicators of ever more children growing up troubled.  Inequities...

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