Add Boy's and Girl's Lacrosse to NW FL Okaloosa and Walton County High schools
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Playing lacrosse is an unique experience and an incredible opportunity for young student-athletes. In addition to improved physical health, participation in sports plays a positive role in youth development, including improved academic achievement, higher self-esteem, and fewer behavioral problems. Lacrosse for boys and girls is known as the fastest sport on foot and continues to be the fastest growing sport all around the Emerald Coast from Pensacola to Tallahassee, except for the Emerald Coast tri-counties. WHY?
The high school athletes of Okaloosa, Walton, and Bay Counties are being left behind. The Emerald Coast of the Florida panhandle has in recent years become renowned for the quality of athletes in the area, but remains one of the last areas to not offer lacrosse as a varsity sport to our high school boys and girls. A quick survey of the rosters of the current NCAA programs in Florida shows that only 17% of active players are from the state of Florida.
Playing organized sports builds the five “C’s” in our youths - competence, confidence, connections, character, and caring - which are critical components of positive youth development. The many facets of playing a team sport - the discipline of training, learning teamwork, following the leadership of coaches and captains, learning to win (and lose) - provide lifelong skills for our young athletes. At the high school level, lacrosse continues to be the fastest-growing sport in the nation.
The National Federation of State High School Associations, from 2009 to 2014 reports:
- 300,000 players compete on varsity, junior varsity, freshman and club teams.
- 551 schools added boys’ programs
- 556 schools added girls’ programs.
- Growth Rates for High School Programs:
27.8% for boys’ lacrosse
31.2% for girls’ lacrosse.
(No other sport had a growth rate above 10%.)
Lacrosse is also experiencing solid growth at the collegiate level. In the NCAA from 2009 to 2014:
- Growth Rates:
men’s lacrosse grew 37.3%
women’s lacrosse grew 38.9%
Both were the highest among all NCAA sports.
- 39 schools added varsity programs in 2014
28 men’s programs added to schedule
37 women’s programs added to schedule
9 NCAA Div I and Div II programs in FLORIDA.
Let’s give the boys and girls in the Emerald Coast tri-county area the opportunity they deserve to participate in the fastest growing sport in America. Let’s give our young men and women a chance to further develop their personal and athletic skills. Let’s give our young athletes a chance to compete for the increasing amount of college scholarships available in Florida Colleges and Universities. Shouldn't Floridian kids get first dibs? Help our kids pick up the stick and learn the game!
If you agree with these goals please support this petition to add boys and girls lacrosse programs to the high schools in Okaloosa, Walton, and Bay Counties, and then forward to anyone else who, in your opinion, might share these goals.
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