2018 project play summit

The nation's premier gathering at the intersection of youth, sport and health, the 2018 Project Play Summit is Oct. 16 at the Newseum in Washington D.C. NBA legend Kobe Bryant will join us, along with skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, Olympic track and field champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee, NBC Sports broadcaster Mary Carillo, and other U.S. and international leaders to "Think Global, Play Local." Watched selected sessions live at as.pn/PPLive, where you can see the livestream times and Summit agenda. Registration for the Summit is sold out. Place your name on the wait list to be notified if space becomes available. A separate, Post-Summit Workshop is Oct. 17 at the Aspen Institute. Check out the agenda.


Healthy Sport Index

For the first time, the public can identify in one place the relative benefits and risks of participating in the 10 most popular high school sports for boys and girls. The Healthy Sport Index combines the best available data and expert analysis while allowing users to customize sport-by-sport results through their own health priorities for participation. Learn about complementary sports to play based on overall health and athletic skill development in a child’s primary sport. Different sports have different benefits; different children have different health needs.


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

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. Project Play has produced six community State of Play reports: Southeast Michigan, Western New York, Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes, Baltimore, Harlem, and Mobile County.


State of Play: Mobile County

In October 2018, we released State of Play: Mobile County, an in-depth report assessing the current state of play for kids and sports in Mobile County, Alabama. The report includes results from a survey of more than 1,700 local youth, and analyzes the challenges and opportunities facing Mobile County. Among the findings: girls have fewer sports opportunities than boys; 26 percent of surveyed youth said they are aware of adults betting on their game result; and basketball (boys) and cheerleading/dance (girls) are the most popular sports for children. “We are appreciative of the Aspen Institute’s work in Mobile County and are excited for our local community to have access to the recommendations, which have proven success in the Aspen Institute’s five other markets,” said Jake Peavy, a former Major League Baseball player who helped partner on the 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. In September 2018, we produced a white paper on the topic, which was explored from five angles and offered recommendations moving forward for football.


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

Sign up for our newsletter and receive updates on events and resources