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After school, aside from homework and household responsibilities or perhaps a job for older youth, much of young people’s waking time is spent in recreational programs. On average, children ages 6 - 12 have 67 hours of discretionary time each week that is not spent in school. Recreation services are provided by most municipalities as well as by a variety of community organizations.


There are generally more recreation programs available for children than for youth. Programs for younger children and pre-teens tend to focus on structured, skill development activities. Once the teen years are reached, young people are more interested in informal social activities, with little or no adult supervision.


To be child and youth friendly, recreation and community services need to meet a wide range of needs of children and youth. Involving young people in planning recreation services will help ensure that their needs are addressed.


Photo courtesy of Red Fox Healthy Living Society, taken by Tori Lemire



Article 12 is about the views of the child

Children and young people have a right to participate in all matters affecting them, and those views should be given due weight “in accordance with the age and maturity of the child”.


Article 15 is about having friends

Children and youth have the right to be with friends and join or set up clubs, unless this interferes with the rights of others.


Article 30 is about inclusivity in race, culture, religion and language

Children have the right to enjoy their own culture, practice their own religion and speak their own language.


Article 31promotes the benefits of play

Children and youth have the right to play and relax by doing things like sports, music and drama.


Article 42 reminds us to learn about rights

All adults and children should know about this convention. Children and youth have a right to learn about their rights and adults should learn about them too.

“Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.


~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Essayist and Poet

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