by Greg Lincoln
Each spring brings another season of Native Youth Olympics and this past weekend the BRHS NYO team hosted their annual meet.
It was great to see all the coaches and athletes coming together from the different villages, like a family reunion. It was also a chance to see how the athletes are doing – and they are doing great.
The folks at the Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) host the state NYO meet each year in Anchorage. Schools and districts send their teams to this event from all over Alaska. Every season CITC surveys the athletes about the impact that NYO has on their lives. Here is their report for 2016.
Why NYO Matters
NYO Games Alaska is a year-round program that has a quantifiable positive impact on more than 2,000 youth each year.
NYO influences our young people to improve academic performance, strengthen overall health and well-being, and instills important values, including leadership and respect—values that make strong communities and build tomorrow’s leaders.
A 2016 survey emphasizing NYO’s impact was completed by 397 NYO athletes in grades 7-12. Here’s what we learned:
77% credited NYO as an incentive to stay in school
74% improved or maintained good grades in order to continue participation in NYO Games
66% indicated improved self-confidence
47% indicated improved leadership and self-esteem
75% reported a greater sense of work ethic
88% see themselves as role-models for future NYO athletes
92% learned about Alaska Native culture and values
92% developed new friendships with other athletes, coaches and teachers
10% stopped using tobacco products
5% stopped using alcohol
6% stopped using illegal substances
137 athletes indicating they practice at least 7–10 hours per week
It is encouraging and inspiring to watch the athletes support each other during the events. Good job, keep it up!