Gary Hall, Jr and Nancy Hogshead-Makar Participating in Project Play.


The Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization, is hosting a summit focusing on revitalizing youth sports called “’Project Play,’ a two year initiative that will include a series of roundtables to address the barriers that limit children’s access to sport activity that is healthy, fun, and developmentally appropriate.” The inaugural summit will begin Tuesday, April 9th, and continue until Friday, April 12th, with 80 organizations and leaders attending the various sessions on the past, present, and potential future of youth sports. 

On Thursday evening there will be a town hall style session, “Pathways to Excellence – What Can be Learned from the World’s Best Athletes?” featuring Olympians Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Michelle Kwan, Gary Hall Jr., Nancy Hogshead-Makar, and Paralympian Sarah Reinertsen.  The event is open to the public, but tickets are required and can be purchased here. 

These athletes have all dominated their sport and bring unique perspectives to the issue.  Three time Olympian and 10 time Olympic medalist Gary Hall Jr. currently sits on the Board of Directors for the National Youth Sports Health & Safety Institute and is an advocate for diabetes care.  Nancy Hogshead-Makar is a four time Olympic medalist and currently serves as a legal advisor to the Women’s Sports Foundation, which works to ensure girls and women have equal opportunity in athletics.  As an expert on Title XI Hogshead-Makar has served as a guest on news outlets such as Fox News, CNN, ESPN, MSNBC, NPR, and Good Morning America. 

The summit will continue throughout 2014, with events in Aspen, New York City, and Washington, D.C., all focusing on the “once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine youth sports in America, with special focus on underserved communities and needs of public health.  The perspectives, ideas and research shared at the roundtables and other events will lead to the publication of a final report . . . in late 2014.”