From elite competitors to weekend warriors to the varsity set, all athletes get their start somewhere. But sport scientists recognize that process begins before children ever slip on a uniform. The foundation for athletic aptitude is laid at the very earliest ages, on playgrounds and other recreation spaces, where basic physical literacy, collaborative play skills, and expressions of creativity begin to develop.
Darell Hammond, one of the nation’s leading advocates for children’s play, joined Sports & Society director and ESPN correspondent Tom Farrey on Nov. 28 in a featured conversation about the power of play. Author of the 2011 New York Times bestseller, Kaboom!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play, Hammond and Farrey explored the role of play in addressing the needs of communities, including those that suffer from high childhood obesity rates.
Hammond is CEO and co-founder of Kaboom!, a not-for-profit based in Washington, DC, dedicated to saving play by making sure there is a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. KaBOOM! works with communities to build playgrounds in all 50 states where there are none. Local businesses and national corporations provide 90 percent of the funding and add additional muscle. Under Hammond’s leadership, KaBOOM! has raised more than $200 million, rallied a million volunteers, led the hands-on construction of 2,000 playgrounds.
Hammond has won numerous national leadership awards and has been profiled in People, Washingtonian, Fortune, Fast Company and Worth magazines, the Non-Profit Times, the Chronicle on Philanthropy and Crain’s Chicago Business. He has also received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, the Jefferson Award for the Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, NYU Stern’s Satter Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and most recently, the American Express NGen Leadership Award from the Independent Sector.
The Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program hosts a conversation on the value of play and sports for children, featuring Darell Hammond, CEO and Founder, KaBOOM! and author of KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play.