Creative activities help youths develop skills, interests

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Tips for building the Constructive Use of Time Assets:

All young people need access to meaningful programs and activities, including time at home.

Ages Birth to 1 Have babies spend most of their time with parents/consistent caregivers.

Ages 1-2 Balance stimulating, structured time with free playtime.

Ages 3-5 Expose preschoolers to new things such museums, theater, dance and other cultural events and activities.

Ages 6-11 Volunteer in programs and activities for youths. Teach youths to balance their time so they gradually learn how not to get too busy or too bored.

Ages 12-15 Encourage families to have a regular family night to do something fun together.

Ages 16-18 Encourage teenagers to be involved in at least one activity that may continue into his or her adult years.

- Ask local youth-serving agencies what they do daily to build assets in our community.

This week's Asset category: Constructive Use of Time

These four assets are external assets. They challenge, shape and enrich the lives of youths.

#17 Creative Activities

Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons/practice in music, theater or other arts.

#18 Youth Programs

Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs or organizations in the school/community.

#19 Religious Community

Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious/spiritual institution.

#20 Time at home

Young person is out with friends "with nothing special to do" two or fewer nights per week.

- For a complete list of the 40 Developmental Assets, visit www.search-instit...

Do you ever wonder who created the colorful murals that brighten downtown's construction sites?

With the initiative of Mainstreet Steamboat Springs and donated panels and paints from local businesses, Diane Davis of Steamboat Arts and Crafts Gym provided space for local youths and artists to creatively contribute to downtown's beautification. This is a great example of Community Building Asset #17, Creative Activities.

Young people need enriching and constructive opportunities outside of school to learn and develop new skills and interests with other youths and adults. The Arts and Crafts Gym provides a place for people of all ages to exercise their creative minds. Youth activities include after-school programs and the Mix and Match Summer Arts and Craft sessions for children ages 5 and older, both of which also build Asset #18, Youth Programs.

Devon De Jong, age 11, is expressive, creative and knows how to balance his time. On top of being a J4 ski racer, Devon recently picked up the guitar, a decision inspired by his grandfather and his friend Cody. He takes lessons at First String Music, which also offers youth lessons in bass, banjo, violin, piano and percussion. Beyond his lessons, Devon practices blues and rock 'n' roll for 20 minutes every day, demonstrating Asset #20, Quality Time at Home. He gets his homework done on time and plays soccer and lacrosse, too. How does he do it all without getting burned out?

"It all balances out perfectly," he said.

The Constructive Use of Time Assets focus on youths' opportunities to be involved in positive, constructive activities. The 2005 Search Institute's Profile of Our Youth survey reveals the following percentage of Steamboat Springs High School (SSHS) students possess each of these assets: Creative activities, 20 percent; Youth Programs, 69 percent; Religious Community, 39 percent; Time at Home, 40 percent.

SSHS students have an average of 16.9 of the 40 Assets. The national average is 19. Young people with fewer than 10 assets report being involved in nearly four times as many high-risk behaviors as young people with 31 or more assets.

After Asset #1 (Family Support) and Asset #40 (Positive View of Personal Future), Asset #18 (Youth Programs) is the asset most SSHS students possess. The variety of sports, cultural and other youth activities available locally has a positive impact on young people's current and future lives.

The city of Steamboat Springs' Youth and Teen Programs are one of many opportunities the city's Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department provides to support the Developmental Assets. Their wide range of youth/teen programs, facilities and outdoor spaces provide youth with a place to constructively spend time and experience positive interactions with adults. This weekend, their 33rd annual Egg Hunt will be Asset-themed. Stop by Howelsen Hill at 11 a.m. Saturday for fun, prizes and to learn more about building Assets.

Young people are more likely to grow up healthy when they have opportunities to make friends with caring, thoughtful adults, learn new skills and interests that stimulate, challenge and excite them, and engage in activities that bring out the best in them.

The Youth Wellness Initiative works to build collaboration between parents, schools and community members to foster healthy lifestyles among youths. For more information on the Youth Wellness Initiative or to nominate an asset-builder for this series, call Grand Futures at 879-6188 or the Yampa Valley Community Foundation at 879-8632.

Comments

playa46 6 years, 9 months ago

This just sounds like another excuse for trying to make the town of Steamboat sound better. I don't know why people don't see this.

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