A new national initiative aims to build leadership skills and teach self-determination, leadership and teamwork among Native American youth
(PRWEB) February 25, 2016
National Native American Youth Athletic Association (NAYA) found last year that 87% of students were either enrolled in or had played high school sports. Let’s put it in perspective. California, the state with the most high school sports opportunities, enrolls just under 6% of its youth in high school sports. Out of 2.3 million high school students in the U.S., just over 853,000 (or 10%) currently participate in sports. To put that in perspective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , under 10% of youth ages 12-19 play high school sports nationally.
A shocking number of youth across the nation do not have the opportunity to have a safe and fun experience to not only improve their education and development but develop strong leadership skills. NAYA’s training provides students with the leadership skills to develop themselves academically while also building resilience and performing well in sports.
“More and more children are competing for sports fields, so they need training,” said Gary Gunawardakun , NAYA executive director. “Our sports training program provides young people with skills necessary to improve themselves both academically and through sports.”
Over 12,000 students have received leadership training during NAYA’s interscholastic sports training program. The young leaders have learned how to work as a team, apply academic knowledge through critical thinking and use social skills to demonstrate their leadership ability through team building exercises.
NAYA coaches the children as they earn a high school diploma, and the organization serves as a resource for young students in the lives of students such as DeMarcus Nelson . Nelson, an ex-athlete, is now an eighth grade teacher who recognizes the training and teaching ability taught through NAYA sports training.
“DeMarcus recognizes the importance of this kind of training to youth so they can maintain positive attitudes and learn the skills they need to be successful in sports and beyond,” said Gunawardakun.
Pioneered 25 years ago by Nayea’ Wright , the NAYA camp began in 11 classrooms. Twelve years later, more than two dozen high schools are now participating in the NAYA Sports Training Program .
For more information on leadership training for Native American youth, the Sports Training Program or how to become a mentor for students, visit NAYA’s Leadership Training Center at http://hq.unitman.com/press/.
Contact: Southern California , 619-562-2795, [email protected]
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