Huddle Up for Baltimore's Kids
Project Play: Baltimore is a multi-year initiative designed to help stakeholders grow the quality and quantity of sport options available to local youth. Organized by the Aspen Institute with support from Under Armour, it is based on the simple idea that no single organization can do this alone. Only through teamwork can leaders and caregivers provide every child an opportunity to play.
"You have built a powerful roadmap"
— Former U.s. Surgeon general vivek murthy
The project is guided by the eight strategies for the eight sectors that touch the lives of children, as identified in the Aspen Institute report, Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game. Since 2015, more than 100 organizations around the country -- from professional leagues to grassroots providers -- have used the report to introduce or shape youth programs.
On September 6th we released the State of Play: Baltimore report. The report is the first comprehensive analysis of how well youth in Baltimore are being served through sports. It features results from a survey of nearly 2,000 youth, 40 findings on strengths and gaps in providing access to sport, five major recommendations, one big “Game Changer” opportunity, and 24 sector-specific, crowd-sourced ideas that stakeholders can plug into.
Our News Coverage
The Baltimore Sun: "Project aims to create quality youth sports programs in Baltimore"
The Baltimore Sun: "Group aims to help Baltimore fill youth recreation gaps"
Baltimore has a rich history of developing its children and communities through sport. Babe Ruth emerged from this dynamic city, as did many others who helped define sport in America over the past century. Once, just about every neighborhood in Baltimore had a recreation center, venues to build healthy children and future leaders. Access to those assets has been disrupted.
Rec centers, 1980
Rec centers, 1997
Rec centers, 2017
In November 2016, Under Armour and Kevin Plank opened a refurbished, 30,000-foot recreation center, the UA House at Fayette, operated by Living Classrooms. The innovative space is a venue to convene leaders and grow access to sport in the broader community, leveraging the unique assets of the Aspen Institute: its knowledge of Collective Impact methodology, expertise in youth sports, and network of engaged national organizations.
Project Play: Baltimore represents the first model community effort by the Aspen Institute's Project Play. To maximize effectiveness, the first three years will focus on East Baltimore, specifically a two-square mile area that is home to 19 schools. Learnings will be shared across Baltimore with the ultimate goal of creating a template to inspire and empower other urban areas across the U.S.
How to Get Involved
The Sports & Society Program wants to share its knowledge of best practices in youth sports as well findings in the State of Play: Baltimore report with community organizations (Recreation and Parks department, community sports leagues, schools, neighborhood associations, etc.).
Please fill out the following form if your group would be interested in a Project Play: Baltimore presentation to foster conversations on ways the group can make quality sport opportunities more accessible to more youth.