By the HELP Committee and Havre Public Schools for Havre Daily News
A growing movement to honor America's children continues with the observance of the third annual National KidsDay on Sunday.
Being spearheaded by the 3.6 million members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, in collaboration with KidsPeace, National KidsDay is an emerging new national day observed on the first Sunday of each August, with national, local and personal celebrations taking place across the country. The goal of the day is to honor, celebrate and acknowledge kids through the gift of meaningful time.
In conjunction with National KidsDay, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and KidsPeace conduct annual research to identify current societal trends in how adults and children spend their time together.
In 2002, the National KidsDay Meaningful Time Survey indicated that U.S. parents and children want to spend meaningful time together, but they tend to disagree on what it takes to make family interaction meaningful. As a result, National KidsDay partners developed the first Meaningful Time Check-up on U.S. Children and Families, which will be released in the days prior to National KidsDay. The survey is designed to examine how parents and children interact. The results will be made available at www.kidsday.net, and the country's top child experts and youth organizations are strongly encouraging all American adults to begin taking the annual survey for themselves in order to determine how they can create meaningful time with the children in their lives.
In order to create some meaningful time for adults and children to spend together, the Havre Parks and Recreation Department will host a carnival at Pepin Park from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday. There will be games to play and prizes to win. Everyone is welcome to come down to the park and spend some fun but meaningful time with the youth of Havre.
Here are 10 reasons to consider using National KidsDay as a way to begin spending meaningful time with your kids.
Kids are a top priority for most Americans. A Gallup Poll for America's Promise: The Alliance for Youth found that about twice as many adults said "preparing young people for the future" was the single top priority for the nation (40 percent) than any of the other choices, which included improving health care (21 percent), keeping the economy strong (18 percent), reducing crime (12 percent) and protecting the environment (7 percent).
There's a lot to celebrate about and with kids. When kids' fundamental needs are met, they "are more likely to develop as caring, compassionate individuals with lots of sparkle, (and) zest for life."
Kids want to feel valued and celebrated. Surveys of sixth- to 12th-grade youth in communities across the United States found that only one in five young people say that adults in their community make them feel important and listen to what they have to say.
Adults don't have positive views of young people. In fact, a Public Agenda study found that at least two-thirds of adults have primarily negative views of young people.
Adults know that kids need their encouragement and support. A Lutheran Brotherhood and Search Institute study of American adults found 90 percent of adults believe it's "most important" to encourage kids' school success, and 75 percent say it's "most important" to have meaningful conversations with kids.
Widespread negative messages about kids need to be balanced. The common emphasis on young people's problems and challenges leaves many people feeling overwhelmed and disempowered. Balancing those messages with an emphasis on what's going well with kids can help them reconnect and get involved.
Kids are contributing and deserve the recognition. Research by Independent Sector shows that 59 percent of teenagers volunteer in their communities. The average teenage volunteer spent 3.5 hours per week volunteering.
Caring adult relationships are important. A Gallup Poll for America's Promise found that both youth and adults say it's extremely important for children to be connected to caring adults. Yet only 30 percent of adults and 36 percent of youth believe that children in their community have caring adults in their lives.
Some young people lack any connections to caring adults. One study found that one in 10 teenagers report that "no one really cares about me."
Most young people want to be connected to adults in their communities. A study of youth in one city found that 65 percent said they would like to be with an adult they can trust and who respects them.
For more information on this or related topics, contact the HELP Committee and Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line at 265-6206.