International Youth Day and Summer Activities in the United States

Learn about Youth Day in the United States

The United States celebrates International Youth Day on August 12, along with many other countries. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of the potential of young people for bringing peace and change to the world. Each year a theme is chosen to draw attention to a particular issue for youth such as the high unemployment rate, poor working conditions, and marginalization from decision-making process. The idea for International Youth Day was first proposed by a group of young people who joined the first session of the World Youth Forum held in Austria in 1991. It was officially endorsed by the United Nations in 1999 and observed for the first time in 2000.

International Youth Day is celebrated with events such as parades, sports events, concerts, conferences, volunteer projects, and exhibitions of young people's achievements. For example, in 2012, a group of youth in Texas helped to clean and decorate a school. In 2008, young people in New York City participated in a chess tournament, roundtable discussions, and an international fashion show. The timing of International Youth Day in August is perfect for youth in the United States, who are on summer vacation from school. Summer vacation also means a wide variety of activities, from camping to hiking, fishing, going to the beach, and day trips. Summer is also the season for America's favorite sport, baseball. Young people enact their American heritage by participating in their own baseball teams that play in community parks. They also watch baseball on television and even go to watch professional teams play in baseball parks throughout the country.

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  • Does your country celebrate an International Youth Day? Or do you have a similar holiday? If so, how have you celebrated this day?
  • What are the most urgent issues that young people are facing in your country? What can you do to deal with them? What should diverse social organizations do to resolve them?

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Classroom Activities

Activity 1 (IAdvanced Learners)

International Youth Day—World Map of Events

Have your students visit the website, which shows events held in different countries to celebrate International Youth Day in 2012. Ask them to see if there was an event in their country. Then, have them click on three countries they are interested in to see the events that were organized in those places. Ask them to fill in the table below based on the information they read on the website. India and the Youth Day events are an example of possible activities.

Next, ask your students to make a list of the issues that young people are facing in your own country. Then, have them plan an event that can raise awareness of one of those issues for the upcoming International Youth Day. Ask them to write a short memo to their local newspaper asking them to announce the event. In the memo they should include the name of the event, the time and place where the event will take place, the participants, and the activities.

Activity 2: (Intermediate Learners)

Baseball: A National Tradition

Through this activity, your students will learn some baseball-related terms that are used in everyday English. Prior to class, prepare two sets of word cards. On one set of each card, write a term and its original meaning as used in baseball. On the other set of each card, write its extended meaning as used in everyday conversation. This chart of baseball terms provides some expressions that would work, but you can find other ones as well.

Have your students read the article “Baseball: A National Tradition.” If you don't have enough time, have them just read the following passage, which is excerpted and adapted from the second section (Baseball Basics) of the article, to familiarize them with the basic rules and terms of baseball.

Baseball Basics Baseball requires two teams of nine players each. A game consists of nine innings. During the first half of an inning, players of one team take turns at bat and try to score runs, while the other team plays in the field and tries to keep the batting team from scoring. In the second half of the inning, the teams change places.

The game takes place outdoors on a diamond-shaped field, with the four corners marked by home plate, first base, second base, and third base. Foul lines extend at 45-degree angles from home plate; the area within those lines is fair territory, or the main field of play. The area enclosed by the bases is called the infield, while the area beyond the bases bordered by the foul lines, and usually a fence, is the outfield.

When a team is playing defense, three of its players are in the outfield, four are in the infield, the pitcher throws the ball from a mound in the center of the infield, and the catcher squats behind home plate to catch any balls that the other team's batter does not hit.

Each player of the team at bat waits his turn to try to hit the ball. When his turn comes, the batter stands at home plate and attempts to hit the ball out of reach of the defensive players in the field. As soon as he hits the ball, he drops his bat and begins to run around the bases. If he reaches first base safely, he is said to have hit a single. If he reaches second base, he has hit a double, and if third base, a triple. A ball hit over the fence in fair territory is a home run, and the batter and any other players ahead of him on the bases all score runs.

If the ball is caught in the air or can be thrown to a base before the batter reaches it, he is out. The batter also can strike out if he swings at and misses three pitches or if he fails to swing at three pitches that the umpire decides were in the strike zone between the batter's armpits and knees. When the batting team has three outs, its turn at bat is over, and it goes to the field for the second half of the inning. Excerpt from: Baseball: An American Tradition

Explain that since baseball is one of the most popular sports in the United States, baseball-related terms are often used in everyday English. Next, distribute the cards that you prepared so that half of your students have an expression and its original meaning while the other half have its extended meaning. Then, have them move around the classroom to find the right match. Once they find the match, have them first look at both original and extended meanings and then make up one sentence using the baseball expression. Finally, ask each pair of students to introduce and explain their baseball expression and sentence to the entire class.

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