Back to school time is always busy. Forms and papers need to be signed. Families are setting new schedules and, of course, parents are flooded with flyers advertising sports team sign-up, and clubs and activities.

Many parents grimace when they see flyers and eager children asking about extracurricular activities, but I urge you all to consider the many benefits.

Out of school activities play an important part in the healthy development of children. Most activities have set goals and trained individuals to teach certain skill sets, whether they are athletic, or, some ways, academic.  

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Children involved in out of school time activities have the chance to get become physically activity, benefit academically, improve social skills and avoid risky behaviors.

Out of school time programs offer children structured, engaging activities that enable them to explore areas of interest that might not otherwise have a chance to do. Some of these programs are even free.

As the CEO of Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, I have seen firsthand the benefits of youth organizations and the roles they play in many children’s lives. In fact, research that shows that Girl Scouts who participate in Girl Scouting do better in school than their peers who do not participate in the program.

Cost and time are always a factor in choosing your child’s activities. But rest assured while you are arranging your family’s schedule this fall, there will be many benefits you will see as a result of your investment.