Developed with input from more than 300 experts over two years, our seminal report offers an evidence-based concept of what good looks like in youth sports – and the nation's first framework on how stakeholders work together to grow access for all children, regardless of zip code or ability. The playbook identifies eight strategies for the eight sectors that touch the lives of kids, with 40+ activation ideas.
project play summit
The nation's premier gathering of leaders at the intersection of sport, youth and health, our annual summit leverages the convening power of the Aspen Institute to steward the movement and identify new opportunities for progress. In 2017, a record 33 organizations made commitments to action.
The first and most important leader in the life of a child is the parent. So we created checklists with 10 questions that caregivers can ask themselves, their child, and sport providers that will help build an athlete for life.
Hundreds of organizations, from the U.S. Olympic Committee to grassroots sports providers, have used Project Play to shape and introduce youth programs. Among them: the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, which is using our expertise to guide grant-making, mobilize leaders and drive collective impact in Southeast Michigan and Western New York.
state of play reports
We help organizations at the city, county and regional level assess how well children are being served through sports in their geographic areas. We also take measure of the national landscape with our annual State of Play report that identifies 40 key developments and presents the latest data on sport participation and physical activity rates among youth.
We worked with other local leaders to stage the Project Play: Harlem Huddle on Jan. 23 to consider ways the community can work together to grow the quality and quantity of sport options for East Harlem youth. Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-D), whose district represents Harlem, gave the keynote. Espaillat serves on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the House Select Committee on Small Business. Huddle participants received a draft of State of Play: Harlem, an upcoming report that includes results from a survey we conducted of more than 1,500 local youth.
Future of Football
More parents are starting their kids in flag football. Some leaders propose holding off on tackle until high school. What are the implications if there was no tackle football, and only flag, until high school? On Jan. 25, we held a panel conversation titled, "Future of Football: Reimagining the Game's Pipeline." Speakers included Dr. Robert Cantu, USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck, ex-NFL players Chris Borland and Domonique Foxworth, and Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens. Please take our post-event survey to share your thoughts on football's future. The insights shared will help inform a final report on the topic.
Lessons from Norwich, Vermont
By not overemphasizing sports, one small town nurtures the unlikeliest of Olympic pipelines. In an original Aspen Institute column, New York Times reporter Karen Crouse reflects on youth sports lessons to be gained from Norwich, Vermont, where kids aren't cut from teams, don't specialize in a single sport at a young age, and even root for their rivals. This town of 3,000 has produced 11 Olympians who have won three medals.
Launched in September 2017, Project Play 2020 represents the first time that major industry and non-profit organizations have come together to grow sport participation and improve related metrics among youth. Step One: develop tools to promote coach training and sport sampling. Want to help us?