#MyReasonWhy Campaign Promotes Benefits of High School Sports

Why participate in high school sports and activities? The National Federation of State High School Associations is asking students, coaches, officials, and other members of the community to share their reasons.

Why do you play?

That’s the question the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), along with its 51 state-level groups, hope to answer through the just-launched #MyReasonWhy campaign.

As part of National High School Activities Month, the campaign promotes the benefits of participating in high school sports and activities by inviting students, coaches, officials, and others in the community to share their stories. People can submit their stories through the #MyReasonWhy website and through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Among the stories shared on social media: A volleyball player says she plays because she wants to work hard and get better every day. A football coach says he coaches because it teaches toughness, intelligence, and teamwork. A cheerleader says her team is her family.

“It builds excitement and energy for what we believe is a great opportunity for participants, and it can play a large part in their future success through the benefits they’ve gained through their involvement in these programs,” said Bruce Howard, director of publications and communications with NFHS.

The campaign website says: “There are countless benefits to participating in high school sports and activities, but a lot of concerns as well. To overcome resistance and drive participation, #MyReasonWhy highlights diverse stories and memories shared by students, parents, coaches, officials and community members.” The group wants to “help ensure that these programs continue to exist in the high school structure,” Howard said.

Such programs generally do not lack participants. Participation in high school sports has increased every year for the past 27 years, and more than 4 million high school students are involved in performing arts programs every year, according to NFHS. But there are some concerns about participation, such as the danger of concussions—an issue NFHS has developed materials to address. The group wants high school leaders and parents “to see the benefits of these programs, beyond an avenue for their child to become a professional athlete.”

Some of the ways high school activities benefit participants include encouraging students to stay in school and perform better academically, nurturing their effort, demanding respect for fair play, and providing healthy lifestyle instruction. Beyond high school, NFHS says these activities help prepare students for successful careers.

As a federation of state associations, NFHS normally does not interact closely with students, parents, coaches, or officials, so the campaign helps get its message out to more people. “We are excited because it puts us kind of out in front more in communities,” Howard said.

Each of the federation’s state associations has a customized digital toolkit to help promote #MyReasonWhy. The first phase of the campaign is collecting stories through the website and social media, and the second phase will be showcasing the stories.

(YouTube screenshot)

Allison Torres Burtka

By Allison Torres Burtka

Allison Torres Burtka, a longtime association journalist, is a freelance writer and editor in West Bloomfield, Michigan. MORE

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