Inside the Decline in Youth Sports

What’s causing it and how do we fix it?


Published:

Dave Herpy coaches his son, Jacob, and his teammate, Nina.

Photo courtesy of Ana Choto

Participation in youth sports is declining in the U.S. — and parents may be partly to blame. According to a report from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, youth ages 6-12 who played team sports in 2018 was down almost 8% from 2008. As a father of four, camp and youth development professional, and youth sports coach in the Triangle, I’ve witnessed the decline firsthand, and I’d like for us, as parents, to do something about it.

The Washington Post recently published a couple of articles that cite a variety of reasons for the decline in youth sports. Its June 1, 2016, article titled, “Why 70 percent of kids quit sports by age 13,” highlights several reasons for the decline, including participants not having fun and feeling pressured to specialize in a single sport and achieve at an elite level. An Oct. 4, 2015, article published by The Washington Post titled, “Are parents ruining youth sports? Fewer kids play amid pressure,” discusses the ultra-competitive youth sports culture parents have helped create.

 

Causes

So what is causing the decline in youth sports participation? Jason Bocarro, a professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University whose research includes youth sports, says he is “living this as both a researcher and a parent. ... It is a complex problem without a single solution.” 

A primary reason is cost. Youth sports expenses range from registration fees to travel equipment, making it difficult for some families to afford it. This creates an access issue for low-income families.

The second reason is specialization. With the goal of acquiring a college scholarship in mind, many parents push their athlete to specialize in a single sport, which not only reduces participation numbers across all sports, but can also have a negative impact on the athlete. Specialization in one sport often leads to travel team participation, which not only requires athletes to achieve at the highest possible level, but also leaves out youth who don’t compete or play at that elite level. Specialization can also result in overuse injuries, which can prevent the athlete from playing that sport altogether.

A final cause that goes along with travel sports is the pull of qualified coaches away from recreational teams to travel teams. Since travel sports clubs strive to hire the most experienced coaches, less qualified coaches are often left to manage recreational teams, which may also hurt participation on those teams — especially if a child has a less-than-positive experience and opts not to play again, or feels he or she is not good enough to play.

 

Parents vs. Youth Perspective

If you ask a parent and child what they get out of youth sports, you’re likely to get very different answers. The Oct. 4, 2015 article in The Washington Post surmises that “youth sports is the new keeping up with the Joneses.” While many parents take a humble approach to travel sports, this observation by The Washington Post appears to be directed at parents who consider their child’s participation on a travel team a “badge of honor.” 

For children, it’s supposed to be — and often is — about having fun, learning new skills, teamwork and experiencing positive coaching. That same article in The Washington Post reports that a George Washington University survey of nearly 150 youth found that winning was ranked very low — at 48 out of 81 factors contributing to happiness in youth sports.

Aaron M. Brown, owner of Brown Strength and Conditioning, a sports performance gym in Raleigh, is a also certified strength and conditioning specialist who is accredited by USA Weightlifting and works with elite athletes in his gym. “In my experience training young athletes for youth sports, I have seen many kids losing their passion for the game due to unreasonable expectations put upon them by their parents,” he says. “In order for us as parents to allow our kids to enjoy youth sports, it’s time to step back and let them play, fail, succeed and most importantly, have fun!”

 

Negative Impacts of Parental Pressure

In November 2018, a 40-year-old father of a youth football player from Princeton, North Carolina, was arrested after assaulting an 11-year-old player from the Selma Yellow Jackets youth football team during a youth league game taking place on the field at Smithfield-Selma High School in Johnston County. According to the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office, the man was arrested after witnesses say he picked up the player and slammed him on the ground. They charged the parent with assaulting a child under 12. This is just one local example of parents getting out of hand during youth sports games.

Photo courtesy of Dave Herpy

Herpy and son, Jacob, recently enjoyed a break from spring sports.

As part of an effort to curb unruly sportsmanship, the Town of Clayton’s Parks and Recreation Department requires parents to attend a preseason meeting and sign a “Parent Code of Conduct” that they must adhere to for the season, helping ensure a positive experience for all participating youth athletes.

“We strive to provide a fun and engaging environment for all of our youth sports leagues, and we believe this starts on Day One with the conduct of our parents,” says Nick Rummage, athletic program coordinator for Clayton Parks and Recreation. “We set out our expectations before the season even starts. Parents know they are expected to positively support the players, coaches and officials at all times. The children playing the game will emulate the behavior of the adults around them, and sour attitudes lead to an unenjoyable experience.”

 

How to Reverse the Problem

So what can we, as parents, do to help reverse this problem? We can and should change our focus from that of winning and being No. 1 to that of positive youth development. There are many life skills learned through youth sports that we should focus on as parents: cooperation, goal setting, sportsmanship and teamwork, to name a few. 

We can also help keep the “youth” in youth sports by empowering young athletes to take the lead in this area. Let’s allow them to decide whether or not to play, and give them the power to choose what sports they want to play. Let’s encourage them to play a variety of sports and try new activities. Let’s also allow them to take a break if they want to.

I experienced this myself recently when our oldest two children both decided to take a break from spring sports and activities. Our 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter had been playing sports for more than three years, season after season. They started with soccer through the Greater Cleveland Athletic Association in Johnston County. From there, our daughter went on to participate in gymnastics at Dream Gymnastics in Garner, and our son played basketball and tennis through Clayton Parks and Recreation, as well as PGA Jr. League golf through Pine Hollow Golf Club in Clayton. We respected their decision to take a break from sports. (To be honest, the break from practices and matches three days a week between the two children was somewhat of a relief for my wife and me, too.)

I believe that when children are intrinsically motivated to play sports, as opposed to extrinsically motivated by parents, they have a much better experience and will be more likely to stick with it. I witnessed this when coaching our children’s soccer teams. You could tell the players who were there because they were genuinely interested in playing, versus the children who were there because their parents forced them to be there.

 

Benefits of Youth Sports

There are numerous benefits of youth sports — mainly life skills and positive youth development. As I stated previously, youth athletes learn many life skills through sports — cooperation, goal setting, sportsmanship and teamwork — that are valuable to a child’s learning experiences, especially later in life.

One final benefit is the development of lifetime activities. As someone who grew up running cross-country and track, I have been able to continue running later in life as a competitive age-group runner, which helps me maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Similarly, when children develop an interest in lifetime activities such as golfing, running, swimming or tennis, it helps them stay active and healthy later in life. Encouraging this in our children should be our ultimate goal and joy as parents.

In the book “Youth Development Principles and Practices in Out-of-School Time Settings” (Sagamore-Venture Publishing, March 2018), Bocarro co-authored a chapter titled, “The Status of Youth Sports in American Society.” He opens with an example from a local youth female athlete who was a top recruit and had committed to playing college soccer on a scholarship. The opening states:

Photo courtesy of Ana Choto

Parents form a spirit tunnel as a youth soccer team gets ready to play. 

“As I lay on the field that day, I knew my leg was broken; I heard it and I felt it. I didn’t even try to get up and I heard my dad yelling from the sideline. ‘Come on, Hannah; you’re fine. Get up!’ My mind raced. I thought about my parents and how much time, money and emotion they had invested in my soccer career since I was little. I thought about my coaches and teammates and how much they were counting on me. Our team had a great chance to win the state championship that year. Then I thought about how much of my life had been consumed by soccer since I was 6 years old. At that moment, I realized that I wouldn’t have to play soccer anymore. It was the happiest day of my life.”

It is the responsibility of coaches and parents to provide inspiring youth development experiences for children. As they grow into adults, these athletes will remember and hold onto their youth sports days. If we want our children to have positive memories of playing youth sports, let’s do everything we can to help make that happen.

 

Dave Herpy is a father of four, camp and youth development professional, and youth sports coach in the Triangle. He has a master’s in recreation and sport science from Ohio University and more than 20 years of experience directing camps and coaching youth sports.

 

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Calendar

November 2019

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

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We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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A full, half marathon and 5k with convenient parking and fast course right off I-40. The RDC 5k takes place on Nov. 9 and Marathon/half marathon will take place on Nov. 10. ...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Southpoint Mall and American Tobacco Trail
6910 Fayeteville Rd
Durham, NC  27713
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Comic book pop culture goes into overdrive at this festival that features new exhibits, panel discussions, workshops, cosplay and more. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $20 and up

Where:
Durham Convention Center
301 W. Morgan St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

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Take part in a walk to deal with grief and honor those lost to suicide while raising money for local suicide prevention groups across the Triangle. Register online. 

Cost: $35

Where:
Halifax Mall, downtown Raleigh
, NC  27601


Website »

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Friends of Lower Haw is offering this free family outing in the Lower Haw River State Natural Area in Chatham County.  Join Board of Directors member Megan Lynch as we wander along the Haw...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lower Haw River State Natural Area
Bynum, NC  27228


Sponsor: Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area
Website »

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Leave your GPS at home and learn how to find your way using only a compass and a map. We will cover the basics of orienteering, including reading bearings, calculating your stride and more. Use...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

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Discover Historic Yates Mill – a place of business, community, and exciting local history! Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (60+ yrs), $3/Child (7-16yrs), Free/Child (6yrs & younger)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Girl Scouts in grades 6-8 spend the afternoon with activities to learn all about trees. Discover the parts of a tree and their functions, how trees are used in everyday life, create a craft...

Cost: $15 per girl scout; no charge for troop leaders or other accompanying adults

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Website »

More information

The Triangle Youth Jazz Fall Concert presents an afternoon of big band jazz selections. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

See horses compete and enjoy food trucks, children's activities and more. Admission is free; Saturday evening Grand Prix tickets are $10/person. Proceeds benefit Duke Children's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex
4601 Trinity Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
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We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Join us Monday Nov 11th for a Full Day Rock Band Camp! This camp is best for ages 7+. NO experience necessary!! Drop off starts at 8:45am Pickup is 5:00pm Students will learn two songs and...

Cost: $70

Where:
Bach to Rock Music School
958 US 64
Apex, NC  27523
View map »

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

Discover Historic Yates Mill – a place of business, community, and exciting local history! Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (60+ yrs), $3/Child (7-16yrs), Free/Child (6yrs & younger)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Nature Peekers: Owl Babies Tuesday, November 12, 10:30-11 a.m. Three baby owls awake one night to find their mother gone, and they can’t help but wonder where she is. What adventures will they...

Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Website »

More information

Turkeys have very colorful feathers! Celebrate this Thanksgiving season with crafts all about this important bird! We will bring the materials if you bring the imagination! For all ages (adult...

Cost: For all ages (adult accompaniment required for all children); FREE. Registration

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

The science of weather is called meteorology. This program investigates the basics of meteorology: what causes the weather, how meteorologists study it, and why it is important that they do!...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Ages 11-17 create old-fashioned taffy and hard candy using ingredients like caramel, marshmallow and chocolate. Register online. Choose course #127043.

Cost: $18/resident, $23/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Please join Admissions, Division Directors and our Head of School as they talk about Duke School’s unique program, specifically for Preschoolers (3-4 year olds) for the 2020-21 school year. A...

Cost: $0

Where:
Duke School
3716 Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: Duke School
Telephone: 919-416-9420
Contact Name: Logan Blaylock

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Ages 1-5 and caregiver delight in the discoveries of nature. Register online. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

November Story Time, Puppet Show and Art Activity Puppet Show Incorporated https://www.puppetshowinc.org/ presents the classic folk story Stone Soup. Activities include a story time, puppet show...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hillsborough Main Library
137 West Margaret Lane
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 919-245-2525
Contact Name: Beth Hawkey
Website »

More information

Don’t miss one of the Triangle’s most popular fundraisers, benefiting Urban Ministries of Wake County. Stone Soup Supper, presented by Bank of America, that features 15 local...

Cost: $25-$45/person

Where:
McKimmon Center
1101 Gorman St.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn the basics of Stop Motion Animation then make your own movie.  Call to register, 919-245-2532. Space is limited. Best for kids ages 8 and up. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

See horses compete and enjoy food trucks, children's activities and more. Admission is free; Saturday evening Grand Prix tickets are $10/person. Proceeds benefit Duke Children's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex
4601 Trinity Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

When Possum sees the full harvest moon, he decides to throw one last party before the long winter. But everyone is too busy preparing for winter and it looks as if nobody will come to Possum's...

Cost: FREE. Registration is required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Discover all things sweet potato at the State Farmers Market. 

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Website »

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

At Read and Feed's Novel Night Gala, attendees will enjoy premier cocktails and fanciful food all while supporting Read and Feed’s efforts to give kids an appetite for reading. Tickets...

Cost: $125

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Read and Feed
Website »

More information

See horses compete and enjoy food trucks, children's activities and more. Admission is free; Saturday evening Grand Prix tickets are $10/person. Proceeds benefit Duke Children's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex
4601 Trinity Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Give rugby a try. Take part in tag rugby pick-up games every Saturday morning at Baileywick Road Park, near the Second Shelter.  No experience necessary. All ages. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Baileywick Road Park
9501 Baileywick Rd
Second Shelter Field
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Sponsor: Raleigh Redhawks Rugby
Contact Name: denise travis
Website »

More information

Yates Mill Associates invites you to their annual holiday sale. Browse an array of gifts including crafts handmade by talented volunteers; Yates Mill souvenir mugs, T-shirts and hats; and cookbooks...

Cost: Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (60+ yrs), $3/Child (7-16yrs), Free/Child (6yrs & younger)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Search for turkey cutouts that will be hidden throughout the park’s various trails and greenway. Each turkey “caught” can be redeemed for a special award (limit one award per...

Cost: $5/child

Where:
Joyner Park
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 1-5 and caregiver delight in the discoveries of nature. Register online. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Ages 4-12 enjoy free arts and crafts. Registration not required. Children must have adult accompaniment. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Website »

More information

November Story Time, Puppet Show and Art Activity Puppet Show Incorporated https://www.puppetshowinc.org/ presents the classic folk story Stone Soup. Activities include a story time, puppet show...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Branch Library
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Inside McDougle Middle School
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 919-969-3006
Contact Name: Beth Hawkey
Website »

More information

Take a walk in the woods and discover the animals and plants that call our park home. Help collect data for our Natural Resources Inventory Database and other citizen science projects. All...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
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Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (60+ yrs), $3/Child (7-16yrs), Free/Child (6yrs & younger)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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During harvest time, farmers often helped their neighbors to get hard work done during communal gatherings such as corn shucking. Learn about this fall tradition and make a corn husk doll to take...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Usher in the holidays with a tree-lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Carolers, a visit from Santa, a dance scene from the Nutcracker, special performances from local schools, and dozens of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lafayette Village
8450 Honeycutt Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
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All evening and into the night, 3000 pounds of molten iron will be poured into molds, in an exciting fiery display. Additionally, there will be Liberty Arts artists’ work for sale, scratch...

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Discover what's happening as the sun sets and listen to stories around a campfire. All ages with adult. Register online. Choose course #127674.

Cost: $18/resident, $24/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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East Cloud Kungfu hosts a Parent's Night Out event, featuring a safe environment for kids as they about the wide world of kungfu.   Check it out!...

Cost: $25 first child, $20 each additional child

Where:
East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
5655-A Western Blvd
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Sponsor: East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
Telephone: 252-646-7053
Contact Name: Imari Colon
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Join the Studio School of Durham team to sip, tinker, and create on Saturday, November 16th at 7:00pm for this FREE event!  We will provide the food, wine, beer, and non-alcoholic...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Studio School of Durham
1201 W Woodcroft Pkwy
Durham, NC  27713
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Sponsor: The Studio School of Durham
Telephone: 984-377-4502
Contact Name: Danielle Sunde
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The EWFL carries a unique experience in youth football to play in a “big game” atmosphere.  Our games begin in the afternoons on Saturday and play into the evening “under the...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Durham County Stadium
750 Stadium Dr
Durham, NC  27704
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See horses compete and enjoy food trucks, children's activities and more. Admission is free; Saturday evening Grand Prix tickets are $10/person. Proceeds benefit Duke Children's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex
4601 Trinity Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2019-20 Education Guide offers 718 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. In our 2019-20 issue, explore 1,028 resources for family fun.