Aspen Institute Project Play Summit, 2019

By Bryan Kitch

“The SBYD [sports-based youth development] conversation has thoroughly evolved in the three years that I have been attending this event,” reflects UpMetrics Director of Client Services, Stephen Minix.


The event, the 2019 Project Play Summit hosted by the Aspen Institute, took place in Detroit this year, moving away from its usual home in Washington, DC for the first time.


“I feel like, a couple years ago, it seemed as though they were still introducing the concept of what sports-based youth development was—this year, the choir was firmly in the room. You weren’t instructing people about the concept of SBYD. Instead it was more about looking for information relative to SBYD programs—the data associated with them, etc. Three years ago, it was almost like you had to convince people that there was data in this field, and now, we have the information, we’ve been studying it, and let’s take action based on it.”


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He continues: “The long and the short of it is, it’s not so theoretical anymore. People are invested in this, and starting to build coalitions of organizations to do this work, which is supremely inspiring.”


This year’s event featured speakers and attendees from leading organizations in the SBYD sector. Some of the panelists and speakers at this year’s event included former NBA star and now TNT analyst, Chris Webber, discussing the importance of parent involvement and positive coaching for youth sports, as well as the potential ramifications when those elements are not present in young athletes’ lives; and Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, who is chairing a state task force to increase opportunities for women and girls in sports. America SCORES New York, Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, USA, Positive Coaching Alliance, and Algonquin Sports for Kids, among others, were some of UpMetrics clients in attendance at the event.


“One quote that stuck out to me from the event was from Tim Schriver,” Minix says. “It was along the lines of, ‘If a child is struggling with math, they still need more math.’ It gets at the idea that, if a child is struggling with an academic subject, you don’t take it away from them—you figure out different ways to help them achieve their academic goals. But so often, in sports, if a child struggles or isn’t engaging with the activity, the opportunity is taken away—that shouldn’t be the case.


“We all benefit—kids, parents, and whole communities—from involvement in sports and recreation,” he adds.


For more on the event, read ‘Basketball’s Chris Webber: Pressure on kids to make the NBA is “scary”’ from the Aspen Institute.


Learn more about how UpMetrics tools can support sports-based youth development and community impact organizations.

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