Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Department

Biological Sciences

Director of Thesis

Kate Flory

First Reader

Rebecca Sanders

Abstract

In recent years, many studies have been conducted regarding the positive effects of extracurricular activities on the behaviors, actions, and overall well-being of children and adolescents. Whether it is through sports, hobbies, or activities within the community, it is important for all children to be able to have access to and be involved in some kind of extracurricular activities. Participation in activities such as these instills in children the qualities essential for life long success including good work ethic, time management skills, the ability to work in groups, commitment, and focus all while guiding them along the right path as they grow and mature as young adults.

The purpose of this thesis was to focus on the positive benefits of participation in extracurricular activities, and most importantly to arrange and host a tennis camp for the children at Carolina Children’s Home. The camp lasted for 4 hours and consisted of teaching the children how to properly hit the ball, drills where I fed the ball to the children on the other side of net, a lunch in between, and finally fun tennis games.

To complement the tennis camp, I also did a review of the relevant literature examining the effects of extracurricular activities on the behavior, health, and academic success of children and adolescents, specifically focusing on children in low income families. Through this research, I found that there is a strong positive correlation between extracurricular sports activities and increased behavior, increased health, and increased academic achievement in children and adolescents. I also found that socioeconomic status plays a significant role, whereby higher SES results in higher levels of extracurricular activity participation, also noting that these positive effects are greater in those children from families of lower SES backgrounds.

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