Monday, 17 May 2010

Youth Athletics League

















Young Athletics League Meet @ Bracknell Leisure Centre.




As one of the largest community-orientated leisure centers in the South of England, Bracknell Leisure Centre is an excellent facility with olympic sized track and swimming pool among many other facilities. [http://www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/leisure/leis-bracknell-sport-and-leisure-centre.htm]It was on the track there that I was first saw a group of teenagers participating in a UK Youth Athletics League (YAL) athletics meet. There were young people of all ages taking part in various events from sprinting, hurdles and javelin to long jump. It was such an array of activity and took me back to my school days when I sprinted and took part in long jump. The YAL is an excellent way to encourage young people to stay out of trouble and cultivate their athletic talents. [For information about the YAL you can visit their website - http://www.natyal.co.uk/].


Briton appears to be plagued with teenagers that exhibit antisocial behaviour, drink excessively, dabble in drugs, smoke and indulge in sexual activities. Britain also has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in western Europe, according to a study into the sexual health of women. [http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/uk-has-highest-teenage-pregnancy-rate-in-europe-397153.html].  The scene of hooded silhouettes lingering in shop doorways and beneath bus shelters carry a potent message of menace for most adults in the UK and most would not feel safe being approached on the streets by teenagers.              
[http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2006/oct/23/youthjustice.familyandrelationships].  Britain has become a place that is increasingly fearful of its teenage population, to the point where pensioners do not seem safe to go out of their homes on their own. Teens are disrespectful and taunt people in public places and their language is colourful and distasteful. There is a complete disconnect between teens and their parents, mainly due to the breakdown of the family unit and increasing numbers of single parent families where there is normally a father figure absent. 
With constant reports of teen violence and disruptive behaviour in schools and on the streets across the country, groups like the YAL are particularly important. Positive groups like this draw young people off the streets and give them purpose and focus. It is essential to have environments where young people can be self- expressive, develop healthy hobbies and safe fun. The discipline, drive, determination and focus involved in becoming a good athlete / sports person for example, removes the sense of boredom that teens seem to have that drives their anti social behaviour. There are many other sports that have similar programs in most cities across the country all geared towards giving children and young people opportunities and getting them off the street and out of trouble. A job well done for all those involved though there is still more that needs to be done.

For more information on youth in the UK see: 



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