2018 project play summit

The nation's premier gathering at the intersection of youth, sport and health, the 2018 Project Play Summit will be 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." The full day will include panels and plenaries, interactive experiences, breakout conversations, major announcements, and the release of new resources and the 2018 State of Play report (take a short survey to share your grades). 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. Limited seats remain.

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.


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. 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