project play summit

Registration is now open for the 2018 Project Play Summit, the nation's premier gathering of leaders at the intersection of youth, sport and health. The 2018 Summit will be Oct. 16 at the Newseum in Washington D.C. NBA legend Kobe Bryant will be a featured speaker. The Post-Summit Workshop is Oct. 17 at the Aspen Institute. 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.

Take our short survey by grading how well adult stakeholders are providing access to quality sport activity to all kids ages 6-12. Results will be released at the Summit.

Project Play at 5 Years: Progress, Next Steps

Five years ago, Project Play was launched. The primary focus has been on children ages 6 to 12, who form the base of our sport system, with a shared vision of an American in which all children have the opportunity to be active through sports. Tom Farrey explores the latest data on youth sports participation and physical activity, and what it means for the growing movement.

The playbook

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.

You’ve built a very powerful roadmap.
— Vivek Murthy, former U.S. Surgeon General

Project Play Champion

Project Play is looking for organizations committed to making quality sport opportunities accessible to all children in all communities. We will recognize select organizations that model and take exemplary actions consistent with the goals and strategies of Project Play. Project Play Champions will receive:

  • Recognition as an exemplary organization on the our website, other communications, and at the Project Play Summit
  • Priority registration for the annual Project Play Summit
  • Use of the Project Play Champion logo in the organization's marketing materials, as approved by the Aspen Institute

parent checklists

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. 

community work

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.


On April 17, we released State of Play: Harlem, an in-depth report assessing the current state of play for kids and sports in East Harlem. The report includes results from a survey of more than 1,500 local youth, and analyzes the challenges East Harlem sports groups have reserving neighborhood athletic spaces. Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-D), whose district represents Harlem, commended Project Play for this report.

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 Norway's olympic dominance

Norway athletes earned a record 39 medals at the Winter Olympics, a stunning 16 more than the United States. Norway is a nation of 5.3 million people, a population not much larger than Greater Detroit. Tom Farrey explores how many of the ideas underpinning Norway's sport system have begun taking hold in the U.S., especially among youth, and resemble Project Play strategies. Norway offers a road map on taking next steps for the U.S. sports model.

shared goals

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.

get involved

Join the dialogue on Twitter and Facebook: @AspenInstSports and #ProjectPlay

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