Events

Project Play explores breakthrough ideas at three types of events: Town halls/summits for large gatherings, all-day deep dive roundtables with 25+ thought leaders, and "Aspen Timeout" panels held at major conferences of stakeholder organizations

In the year since the release of the seminal Aspen Institute report, Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game, many organizations have taken action consistent with its eight strategies for the eight sectors that touch the lives of children. At the 2016 Project Play Summit at the Newseum, 450 leaders gathered to measure progress, share learnings and discover new opportunities to build healthy communities through sport.

The featured session was with first lady Michelle Obama, her brother Craig Robinson and his ESPN colleague, moderator Michael Wilbon, co-host of Pardon the Interruption. Three kids from South Side Chicago, all grown up, reflected on their childhood, sports parenting, and the importance of making sport affordable and accessible for all youth. Obama called on stakeholders to provide quality opportunities for every child, regardless of zip code or ability. (Video, excerpts and transcript below)

"This has to become a priority in our society," Obama said. "This affects all of us. Play and nutrition and overall investment in our kids — whether they can read and think and engage — it's just not enough for us to be okay with so many kids not having that at an excellent level. So whatever the dollar figure is, as a society, as taxpayers and as corporate America — we should figure out how much that costs, and then pay for it. Period."

Obama was joined by more than 60 other speakers at the sold-out summit, the nation's premier gathering of leaders at the intersection of sport, youth and health. Among them: Mary Davis, CEO, Special Olympics International; Tab Ramos, Youth Technical Director, US Soccer Federation; Jim Whitehead, CEO, American College of Sports Medicine; Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, CEO, Laureus Foundation USA; Dr. Bennet Omalu, Chief Medical Examiner, San Joaquin County (Calif.); Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and Billie Jean King, civil rights pioneer. 

Several sessions were live-streamed, drawing more than 100,000 Facebook Live viewers, with the hashtag #ProjectPlay trending nationally on Twitter. 

Sessions

Opening comments
Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute
Lt. Gen. (ret.) Mark Hertling, member of President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition

State of Play: 2016
Tom Farrey, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program
VIDEO // QUOTES

Ask Kids What They Want
What does the new research tell us?
QUOTES
Moderator: Jeremy Goldberg, President, LeagueApps
Tom Cove, President and CEO, Sports & Fitness Industry Association
Holly O'Donnell, National Executive Director, America SCORES
Tom Paskus, Principal Research Scientist, NCAA
Edwin Roman, Senior Director of Consumer Insights, ESPN
Carlo Carino, Participant, The First Tee – New Orleans

Reintroduce Free Play
Can large orgs drive de-organization?
WATCH // QUOTES
Moderator: Jon Frankel, Correspondent, HBO Real Sports 
Neeru Jayanthi, Director of Tennis Medicine, Emory University
Chris Marinak, SVP, League Economics & Strategy, MLB
Jason Collins, former NBA player
Jeremy Silberglied, Participant, Sports Plus

Encourage Sport Sampling
How can PE, clubs collaborate?
QUOTES
Moderator: Bill King, Senior Writer, Sports Business Journal
Brendan Ledwith, Coordinator, Sport Development, USA Volleyball
Sarah Lee, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion
Ken Martel, Technical Director, USA Hockey
Paul Roetert, CEO, SHAPE America

Revitalize In-Town Leagues
Who will be their champion?
WATCH // QUOTES
Moderator: Dan Shanoff, Content & Programming, Monumental Sports Network
Ryan Eckel, Vice President of Brand, Dick's Sporting Goods
Noah Blue Elk Hotchkiss, Founder, Tribal Adaptive Organization
Rebecca Kodysh, Executive Director of Community Impact, Cleveland Indians
Max Levitt, Founder & Executive Director, Leveling the Playing Field

Building a Social Movement for Access to Sport
Billie Jean King, tennis and civil rights champion, and Risa Isard, program associate, Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program
WATCH // QUOTES

First Lady Michelle Obama, with brother and ESPN analyst Craig Robinson, moderated by ESPN show host Michael Wilbon
WATCH below, with excerpts of Obama's comments in The Aspen Journal of Ideas here and graphical quotes here

Think Small
Can we systematize creativity in play spaces?
WATCH // QUOTES
Moderator: Kevin Martinez, VP, Corporate Citizenship, ESPN
Corliss Allen Solomon, Doctoral Student, University of North Carolina at Charlotte 
Chip Patterson, Executive Director, The First Tee of Greater New Orleans
James Siegal, CEO, KaBOOM!
Erin Smith, Director of Education and Training, US Lacrosse

Train All Coaches
How to engage the hardest-to-reach?
WATCH // QUOTES
Moderator: Mike Fletcher, Senior Writer, The Undefeated, ESPN
Jon Feinman, Founder, InnerCity Weightlifting
Leah Friedman, Junior Development Coordinator, USTA Chicago 
Tony Korson, CEO, Koa Sports
Richard Pavlick, Co-Founder, Project Leader & Coach, YLC Kicks
Daleajah Williams, Playworks Junior Coach

Design for Development
Where to next with the American Development Model?
WATCH  // QUOTES
Moderator: Caitlin Morris, Sr. Dir. for North America, Global Community Impact, Nike
Christine Bolger, Coaching Education, United States Olympic Committee
Jeremy Campbell, Former professional wheelchair basketball player
Michael Clayton, Nat'l Coaches Education Program, USA Wrestling
Tab Ramos, Youth Technical Director and U-20 Men's Head Coach, U.S. Soccer

Emphasize Prevention
Brain Injuries: How much science do we need to act?
WATCH // QUOTES
Moderator: Mark Hyman, Professor, George Washington University
Kevin Bieniek, Research Fellow, Mayo Clinic
Kate Carr, President and CEO, Safe Kids Worldwide
Dr. Sam Gandy, Prof. of Neurology and Psychiatry, Mount Sinai
Dr. Gerard Gioia, Division Chief, Neuropsychology, Children's National Health System
Dr. Bennet Omalu, Chief Medical Examiner, San Joaquin County (Calif.) and Professor, University of California-Davis

Physical Literacy
How to implement the concept?
WATCH  // QUOTES
Moderator: Cedric Bryant, Chief Science Officer, American Council on Exercise
Dean Kriellaars, Associate Professor, University of Manitoba
Mike Sagas, Department Chair and Professor, University of Florida
Kathleen Tullie, Founder, BOKS

Model Communities
What works in building local coalitions?
WATCH // QUOTES
Moderator: Steve Patrick, Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions
Renata Simril, President, LA84 Foundation
Jamie Schmill, New Orleans Program Officer, Laureus USA
Sara Couppas, Sports and Nutrition, Clinton Foundation>
Bruce Lee, Director, Global Obesity Prevention Center, Johns Hopkins University
Laurence Chalip, Professor, University of Illinois

Call for Leadership
Treetops to grassroots: How to scale a culture of health in sports?
WATCH //  QUOTES
Moderator: Tom Farrey, Aspen Inst. Sports & Society Program
Mary Davis, CEO, Special Olympics International
Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, CEO, Laureus USA
Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Jorge Perez, SVP, Programs and the Y Experience, YMCA of the USA
Jim Whitehead, CEO, American College of Sports Medicine

"What's Your Play?" announcements
WATCH 
Among the 11 commitments to action (see all on the Project Play report website):

  • Under Armour: Committed to lifting youth sport participation rates in East Baltimore through its Project Heartbeat initiative, with the support of the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program
  • YMCA of USA: Committed to adopting Project Play's Sport for All, Play for Life model and its 8 Plays in a "comprehensive, major upgrade of our youth sports approach and programs," to be scaled through the nation's 2,700 Y's over the next two to three years

Leaders from each of the following sectors attended the 2016 Project Play Summit: National Sport Organizations, Community Recreation Groups, Public Health, Business & Industry, Tech & Media, Policymakers & Civic Leaders; Education; and Parents. Insights shared during the event informed the conclusions of State of Play: 2016 report, a draft of which was released at the summit. The final version was released one month later and identified key developments of the past year in each of the eight strategy areas that create the framework for action in the Sport for All, Play for Life report, along with the latest sport participation rates for children and other original data.
 

Details
May 17, 2016
8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Washington, DC

Events

October 22, 2016
San Francisco, CA

As part of the roundtable discussion on Promoting Physical Literacy in American Youth at the 2016 annual conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Sports & Society Executive Director Tom Farrey will address a group of medical leaders on the topic of "Media & Technology: Using it to Promote Physical Literacy." The full agenda for the morning is below.

8:00-8:45 AM          Media & Technology: Using it to Promote Physical Literacy 
8:45-9:20 AM         Health Care Providers: Tools to Assess Physical Literacy  
9:20-9:55 AM         Leading the Way: Physical Literacy Programs at Work in Communities
9:55-10:30 AM       Fostering the Youth Sport Ethos in Organized Sports 
10:30-11:00 AM     Roundtable Discussion 
 
May 17, 2016
Washington, DC

In the year since the release of the seminal Aspen Institute report, Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game, many organizations have taken action consistent with its eight strategies for the eight sectors that touch the lives of children. At the 2016 Project Play Summit at the Newseum, 450 leaders gathered to measure progress, share learnings and discover new opportunities to build healthy communities through sport.

The featured session was with first lady Michelle Obama, her brother Craig Robinson and his ESPN colleague, moderator Michael Wilbon, co-host of Pardon the Interruption. Three kids from South Side Chicago, all grown up, reflected on their childhood, sports parenting, and the importance of making sport affordable and accessible for all youth. Obama called on stakeholders to provide quality opportunities for every child, regardless of zip code or ability. (Video, excerpts and transcript below)

"This has to become a priority in our society," Obama said. "This affects all of us. Play and nutrition and overall investment in our kids — whether they can read and think and engage — it's just not enough for us to be okay with so many kids not having that at an excellent level. So whatever the dollar figure is, as a society, as taxpayers and as corporate America — we should figure out how much that costs, and then pay for it. Period."

Obama was joined by more than 60 other speakers at the sold-out summit, the nation's premier gathering of leaders at the intersection of sport, youth and health. Among them: Mary Davis, CEO, Special Olympics International; Tab Ramos, Youth Technical Director, US Soccer Federation; Jim Whitehead, CEO, American College of Sports Medicine; Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, CEO, Laureus Foundation USA; Dr. Bennet Omalu, Chief Medical Examiner, San Joaquin County (Calif.); Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and Billie Jean King, civil rights pioneer. 

Several sessions were live-streamed, drawing more than 100,000 Facebook Live viewers, with the hashtag #ProjectPlay trending nationally on Twitter. 

Sessions

Opening comments
Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute
Lt. Gen. (ret.) Mark Hertling, member of President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition

State of Play: 2016
Tom Farrey, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program
VIDEO // QUOTES

Ask Kids What They Want
What does the new research tell us?
QUOTES
Moderator: Jeremy Goldberg, President, LeagueApps
Tom Cove, President and CEO, Sports & Fitness Industry Association
Holly O'Donnell, National Executive Director, America SCORES
Tom Paskus, Principal Research Scientist, NCAA
Edwin Roman, Senior Director of Consumer Insights, ESPN
Carlo Carino, Participant, The First Tee – New Orleans

Reintroduce Free Play
Can large orgs drive de-organization?
WATCH // QUOTES
Moderator: Jon Frankel, Correspondent, HBO Real Sports 
Neeru Jayanthi, Director of Tennis Medicine, Emory University
Chris Marinak, SVP, League Economics & Strategy, MLB
Jason Collins, former NBA player
Jeremy Silberglied, Participant, Sports Plus

Encourage Sport Sampling
How can PE, clubs collaborate?
QUOTES
Moderator: Bill King, Senior Writer, Sports Business Journal
Brendan Ledwith, Coordinator, Sport Development, USA Volleyball
Sarah Lee, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion
Ken Martel, Technical Director, USA Hockey
Paul Roetert, CEO, SHAPE America

Revitalize In-Town Leagues
Who will be their champion?
WATCH // QUOTES
Moderator: Dan Shanoff, Content & Programming, Monumental Sports Network
Ryan Eckel, Vice President of Brand, Dick's Sporting Goods
Noah Blue Elk Hotchkiss, Founder, Tribal Adaptive Organization
Rebecca Kodysh, Executive Director of Community Impact, Cleveland Indians
Max Levitt, Founder & Executive Director, Leveling the Playing Field

Building a Social Movement for Access to Sport
Billie Jean King, tennis and civil rights champion, and Risa Isard, program associate, Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program
WATCH // QUOTES

First Lady Michelle Obama, with brother and ESPN analyst Craig Robinson, moderated by ESPN show host Michael Wilbon
WATCH below, with excerpts of Obama's comments in The Aspen Journal of Ideas here and graphical quotes here

Think Small
Can we systematize creativity in play spaces?
WATCH // QUOTES
Moderator: Kevin Martinez, VP, Corporate Citizenship, ESPN
Corliss Allen Solomon, Doctoral Student, University of North Carolina at Charlotte 
Chip Patterson, Executive Director, The First Tee of Greater New Orleans
James Siegal, CEO, KaBOOM!
Erin Smith, Director of Education and Training, US Lacrosse

Train All Coaches
How to engage the hardest-to-reach?
WATCH // QUOTES
Moderator: Mike Fletcher, Senior Writer, The Undefeated, ESPN
Jon Feinman, Founder, InnerCity Weightlifting
Leah Friedman, Junior Development Coordinator, USTA Chicago 
Tony Korson, CEO, Koa Sports
Richard Pavlick, Co-Founder, Project Leader & Coach, YLC Kicks
Daleajah Williams, Playworks Junior Coach

Design for Development
Where to next with the American Development Model?
WATCH  // QUOTES
Moderator: Caitlin Morris, Sr. Dir. for North America, Global Community Impact, Nike
Christine Bolger, Coaching Education, United States Olympic Committee
Jeremy Campbell, Former professional wheelchair basketball player
Michael Clayton, Nat'l Coaches Education Program, USA Wrestling
Tab Ramos, Youth Technical Director and U-20 Men's Head Coach, U.S. Soccer

Emphasize Prevention
Brain Injuries: How much science do we need to act?
WATCH // QUOTES
Moderator: Mark Hyman, Professor, George Washington University
Kevin Bieniek, Research Fellow, Mayo Clinic
Kate Carr, President and CEO, Safe Kids Worldwide
Dr. Sam Gandy, Prof. of Neurology and Psychiatry, Mount Sinai
Dr. Gerard Gioia, Division Chief, Neuropsychology, Children's National Health System
Dr. Bennet Omalu, Chief Medical Examiner, San Joaquin County (Calif.) and Professor, University of California-Davis

Physical Literacy
How to implement the concept?
WATCH  // QUOTES
Moderator: Cedric Bryant, Chief Science Officer, American Council on Exercise
Dean Kriellaars, Associate Professor, University of Manitoba
Mike Sagas, Department Chair and Professor, University of Florida
Kathleen Tullie, Founder, BOKS

Model Communities
What works in building local coalitions?
WATCH // QUOTES
Moderator: Steve Patrick, Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions
Renata Simril, President, LA84 Foundation
Jamie Schmill, New Orleans Program Officer, Laureus USA
Sara Couppas, Sports and Nutrition, Clinton Foundation>
Bruce Lee, Director, Global Obesity Prevention Center, Johns Hopkins University
Laurence Chalip, Professor, University of Illinois

Call for Leadership
Treetops to grassroots: How to scale a culture of health in sports?
WATCH //  QUOTES
Moderator: Tom Farrey, Aspen Inst. Sports & Society Program
Mary Davis, CEO, Special Olympics International
Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, CEO, Laureus USA
Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Jorge Perez, SVP, Programs and the Y Experience, YMCA of the USA
Jim Whitehead, CEO, American College of Sports Medicine

"What's Your Play?" announcements
WATCH 
Among the 11 commitments to action (see all on the Project Play report website):

  • Under Armour: Committed to lifting youth sport participation rates in East Baltimore through its Project Heartbeat initiative, with the support of the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program
  • YMCA of USA: Committed to adopting Project Play's Sport for All, Play for Life model and its 8 Plays in a "comprehensive, major upgrade of our youth sports approach and programs," to be scaled through the nation's 2,700 Y's over the next two to three years

Leaders from each of the following sectors attended the 2016 Project Play Summit: National Sport Organizations, Community Recreation Groups, Public Health, Business & Industry, Tech & Media, Policymakers & Civic Leaders; Education; and Parents. Insights shared during the event informed the conclusions of State of Play: 2016 report, a draft of which was released at the summit. The final version was released one month later and identified key developments of the past year in each of the eight strategy areas that create the framework for action in the Sport for All, Play for Life report, along with the latest sport participation rates for children and other original data.
 

April 8, 2016
Denver, CO
University of Denver
Like other states, Colorado faces challenges in dealing with a crisis of physical inactivity, parental concerns about injuries, and declining participation in youth sports. How can leaders work together to make sport more affordable, accessible and developmentally appropriate for all children?
 
Please join us on April 8 at the University of Denver for the first-ever Colorado Youth Sports Summit, where we will review and recognize sport programs and activities that contribute positively to the overall development of children.
 
The summit builds on the work of the Aspen Institute’s Project Play, a multi-stage initiative to provide stakeholders with the tools to build healthier communities through sports. Led by executive director Tom Farrey, Project Play has used research and input from experts, including several from Colorado, to provide guidance for those of us working in youth sports.
 
The goal of this summit is to reaffirm Colorado as a leader in the provision of youth sport programs that teach physical literacy and prepare young people for a lifetime of healthy physical activity. Only by working together at the state and local levels can we overcome the challenges that we face.
 
Come learn more about Project Play and share your ideas for how youth sports can help our children achieve physical literacy and meet their developmental needs.
 
Program Highlights:
 
  • Kick off with Tom Farrey, author of Game On: The All American Race to Make Champions of Our Children, award winning journalist, and director of Project Play
  • A presentation on the importance of Physical Literacy by Robin Schepper, Director, Bipartisan Policy Center, Washington, DC
  • Panel of leaders from USOC, national governing bodies and other organizations that have already reimagined youth sports in their developmental programs
  • A presentation on injuries in youth sport by Dr.Shale Wong, Pediatrics, CU School of Medicine
  • Breakout sessions on using The Playbook to promote physical literacy and overall childhood development
  • A presentation on  integrating physical literacy into youth sport practices
  • General summary of best practices and a CALL TO ACTION for improving youth sports

More information is available on the event website here

November 11, 2015
Las Vegas, NV
Mandalay Bay Convention Center

At the world's leading conference for the sports events industry, a session is devoted to the Project Play report and its eight strategies for the eight sectors that touch the lives of children. Event organizers as well as leaders from national sport governing bodies and other groups will learn how they can use the report to get and keep more children active through sports in their communities. Panelists include Skip Gilbert, managing director of professional tennis operations for the U.S. Tennis Association and tournament manager for the U.S Open.

November 6, 2015
Santa Fe, NM
Eldorado Hotel

At the 36th annual conference of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, a session titled "NASSS Coaches Assess the Project Play Report" presents an invited panel of NASSS members who are youth coaches to engage their sociological imagination and critically discuss the goals and recommendations in the Aspen Institute's Project Play report.  The panelists will explore questions related to the challenges and tactics associated with putting Project Play recommendations into action. The session recognizes that although Project Play focuses on the U.S, it was partly informed by similar efforts in Canada, and is applicable to youth sports worldwide.

The moderator of the session is Brian Gearity, professor at the University of Denver. Joining him as panelists are Gary Sailes, Indiana University; Katlin Okamoto, University of Minnesota; Jim Denison, University of Alberta; Algerian Hart, Western Illinois University; Anna Baeth, University of Minnesota; Jeffrey Montez De Oca, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs; and Ryan King White, Towson University. The session chair is Jay Coakley, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and a member of the Project Play advisory group.

More information on the conference here.

October 26, 2015 to October 27, 2015
Palto Alto, CA
At the SAP InnoJam in Palo Alto, the Aspen Institute's Tom Farrey issued a challenge to student teams from Bay Area universities based on an opportunity identified in the Project Play report: Build a tool that can connect youth, parents and others to the full array of sport programs and sites in their communities. Two of the eight teams of coders and business students were assigned to the 30-hour challenge, and one of them -- "Team Rollick," comprised of students from San Francisco State and Chico State -- won the design thinking competition, with a prototype of a mobile app. 
 
The judging panel included senior SAP executives, including SAP Chief Human Resources Officer Stefan Ries.  As winners, the members of "Team Rollick" will showcase their app May 17 as part of the SAP University Alliances experience at the SAPPHIRE NOW conference in Orlando, Fla.

More on the competition, held at the HanaHaus in downtown Palo Alto, here. Photos and social media on the event can be found on Twitter #Innojam

October 14, 2015
Colorado Springs, CO
Olympic Training Center

Sports and Society Program Executive Director Tom Farrey will present to 20 Community Olympic Development Program (CODP) directors at the CODP conference. He will help these leaders, which represent 15 programs from across the US, understand how they can activate and shape programming based on the strategies from the Project Play report.

October 6, 2015
Washington, DC
Aspen Institute

The increasingly sedentary lifestyles of children, and participation declines in many youth sports, are in part due to a structural reality: lack of access to safe, affordable, nearby recreation facilities. State, county and municipal leaders must find ways to avoid closure of more parks, recreation centers, and sports complexes.

Challenging outdated finance and management models is essential. Funding is a key factor in the development of new parks and recreation centers and the maintenance of existing recreation assets. Communities that have been successful in addressing financing issues have developed innovative approaches that often involve private-sector budgeting models, public-private partnerships, and economic impact analyses which justify new or continued investment in sport and recreation centers.

This roundtable of 25+ leaders built on a September 2014 roundtable that identified opportunities to grow access to recreation spaces, by focusing on facility financing solutions. Participants included Barbara Tulipane, president and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association and Michael Kelly, general superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District, along with some of the brightest minds in sports finance. Sponsored by the Sports Facilities Advisory, the event will inform the creation of a resource that can be used by key decision-makers to fund more recreation spaces.

September 30, 2015
Washington, DC

Project Play will join Boys & Girls Clubs of America leaders for a think-tank style day to share best practices and shape policies for the organization.

September 24, 2015
Colorado Springs, CO

Tom Farrey will present the Aspen Institute's Physical Literacy report, and explain how it syncs with the Project Play report and the recent sport industry endorsement of multi-sport play, to leaders of the Multi-Sport Organizations Council of the U.S. Olympic Committee. The session is open and free to the public. 

September 17, 2015 to September 20, 2015
New Orleans, LA

Back in February at the Project Play Summit, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation announced that they would be convening a sport-for-development collective impact coalition to create a framework for stakeholders to work together effectively in order to improve opportunities for youth in New Orleans. 

In September, Laureus hosted a Sport for Good weekend in New Orleans which began with a Project Play training session for the city-wide coalition of youth sports providers. Laureus released a state of youth sports and physical activity report that addressed the needs of children in the Orleans Parish and included profiles of local children, authored by the Aspen Institute and journalist Hugo Kugiya, whose lives hang in the balance.

Sports & Society Executive Director Tom Farrey also moderated a lively panel at Tulane University that focused on the challenge of retaining girls in sports. Participating in the dialogue were Olympic champions Allyson Felix (track) and Kelly Clark (snowboarding), former Saints running back Deuce McAllister, and Playworks chief marketing officer Tonya Antonucci.  

In the coming months, Project Play will continue to support the coalition in New Orleans as it aims to grow access to quality programming across the city.