*** United States children's recreational institutions

United States Recreational Institutions

youth sports
Figure 1.--This is 11 year old Seattle boy Dave Willard who played in a youth football league in 1962. Their team was organized at the View Ridge Playfield. Dave's photograph made it into the Seattle newspaper because a tornado took him off his feet in September. Youth football was less popular in America than baseball and soccer. It required more expenive equipment tha the other sports. And has been declining recently, largely because of increasing reports of injuries, especially head injuries. Short hair styles like Dave's crewcut persisted longest among atheletes in the 1960s and early-70s.

There are several active youth recreational institutins in America. They have become increasingly important as America became more affluent and parents tended to favor closer supervision of children. One institution which America help to found was the summer camp. Summer camp now is a long established ritual for American boys which has roots in the late 19th century. The initial idea was to get city kids out into the fresh air and sunshine. Both the YMCA and the Boy Scouts played an important role in the summer camp movement. The American summer was an institution subsequently adopted in many other countries. Youth groups are another important institution. They had broad programs for children. Summer camps were only one of those programs. They were particularly important before and after World War II, but have declined in recent years. Inceasingly important since the end of World War II and the move into the suburbs has been the appearnce of youth sports league like Little League Baseball. Little League became popular because primary (elementary) schools tended not to have sports programs like secondary schools. Soccer leagues in recent years have become even more important than Little League baseball. There are also youth football laegues, but are not as important as youth baseball and soccer leagues. School sports are particularly important in America, but this is primarily for the athletically gifted and has less of a recetional character than sports leagues. This is a situation that differs from most other countries, except perhaps Canada.


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Created: 10:42 PM 7/24/2019
Last updated: 10:42 PM 7/24/2019