Launched in 2013 by the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program, Project Play is a multi-stage initiative to provide stakeholders with the tools to build healthier communities through sports.

The first stage of Project Play focuses on how to grow access to quality sport opportunities for children ages 12 and under. Its 2015 report, Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game, captures the best ideas collected from two years of discussions with 300+ experts in youth sports and child development, including several from Colorado, including Jay Coakley, XXX (title you’re comfortable with); Robin Schepper, former Let’s Move executive director; Dr. Shale Wong, professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado-Denver (check with she and Robin to see if OK to use). It synthesizes what we know into 8 strategies that can guide all who engage children through sports activity.

The Playbook has been endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General and used to shape the programming of recreation departments, city-wide coalitions in New Orleans and Houston, and national sport organizations. The U.S. Olympic Committee has embraced Project Play, using its work to promote best practices in youth sports through the American Development Model, with new guidance for National Governing Bodies released in February.

The need for solutions is great: Fewer than half of children ages 6 to 11 meet the U.S. Surgeon General’s recommendation for engaging in at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity per day. We also know that:

Participation in youth sports is declining

  • Too many young people sustain serious injuries in youth sports
  • U.S. children have the highest obesity rates (37%) among relatively wealthy societies worldwide—a rate 3-4 times higher than rates in Denmark, France, Norway, Japan, and Switzerland
  • National health costs rise as more children are treated for health problems related to inactivity
  • Sport programs for children 12-years old and younger don’t always develop physical literacy or promote lifelong involvement in sports.
  • Adults who volunteer and work in youth sports are key players in developing physical literacy and inspiring children to stay in sports as they enter their teens and adult life.

Now we bring the Playbook to Colorado as a resource to use in meeting the developmental needs of our children through youth sports. Key insights and developments may be shared at the annual national meeting, the 2016 Project Play Summit in Washington D.C. on May 17.

As a key player in this effort we ask for your participation in maximizing youth development through sports programs in Colorado.

To reach the goal of giving all children 12 and under the opportunity to be active through sport, our leadership call goes to the following:

  • COMMUNITY RECREATION PERSONNEL (participation creates sustainable programs)
  • POLICYMAKERS & CIVIC LEADERS (thriving communities prepare children to be engaged citizens)
  • EDUCATORS (active kids do better in school)
  • PARENTS (physically active kids are happier and healthier)
  • PUBLIC HEALTH PERSONNEL (sport & physical activity are preventive medicine)
  • BUSINESS & INDUSTRY LEADERS (investing in kids is good business)
  • TECH & MEDIA EXPERTS (youth sports are ripe for change, so help it happen)

As an attendee, you will receive a hard copy of the 48-page Playbook. In the meantime, it is available in easy-to-use format at Information on the meaning and importance of physical literacy, the core ask of stakeholders in the Project Play report, is available at