#Sports specially for youth girls #Students

Youth is synonymous with energy — mental and physical. Organized and informal sports provide teens with an opportunity to expend some of that energy and, more importantly, to learn the value of fair play, to achieve goals, and to just have fun.

In 2003, 58 percent of boys and 51 percent of girls in high school played on a sports team. The most popular sports for boys are American football, basketball, track and field, baseball, and soccer (international football). For girls, the most popular are basketball, track and field, volleyball, softball, and soccer. As a result of a U.S. law that encourages women to take part in athletics, girls’ participation in high school athletics has increased by 800 percent over the past 30 years. Other organized high school sports often include gymnastics, wrestling, swimming, tennis, and golf. Away from school, teenagers participate year-round in community-sponsored sports leagues. In addition, particularly in the summer, they engage in informal “pick up” games of one sport or another in the streets and parks of their neighborhoods.

Lamoine Lions Cheering Squad (Lamoine, Maine).Lamoine Lions Cheering Squad (Lamoine, Maine).

In 2001, a higher percentage of high school seniors reported participating in athletic teams (39 percent) and music/performing arts activities (25 percent) than academic clubs (15 percent), student council/government (11 percent), and newspaper/yearbook (10 percent). Females were more likely to participate in newspaper/yearbook, music/performing arts, academic clubs, student council or government, and other school clubs or activities than males. Males, however, were more likely to participate in athletics.

High school female participation

Sports also play an important role in the everyday social scene at American colleges and universities. University sports programs are offered at the intercollegiate (organized competition) and the intramural (club-like, less competitive) levels. Many universities offer sports scholarships at the intercollegiate level to students who are both academically qualified and skilled in a particular sport. Athletic scholarships are awarded for everything from archery to wrestling, with an eye on gender equality to achieve a balance between men’s and women’s scholarships.

Playing for a college team on scholarship is one way students help pay for the cost of earning an undergraduate degree. About $1 billion in athletic scholarships are awarded through the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) each year. Over 126,000 student-athletes receive either a partial or a full athletic scholarship. These scholarships are awarded and administered directly by each academic institution, not the NCAA. Award amounts vary from a few thousand dollars to nearly $30,000 for one academic year and do not necessarily cover the full cost of tuition and living expenses. Scholarships are offered on a percentage basis, and universities have strict limits on the total amount they can award each year.

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