past event

Project Play Summit 2021

The Aspen Institute’s Project Play Summit is the nation’s premier event for leaders building healthy communities through sports. The Project Play Summit is where we take measure of the state of play for youth and catalyze the next stage of progress. Every child in America should be able to access sports, regardless of zip code or ability.


DAY 1: Tuesday, October 19

7:00 PM ET

Welcome to What’s Next

When COVID-19 hit, Project Play recognized what was coming – massive disruption in youth sports – and yet an historic opportunity to start building models that serve more kids. Tom Farrey, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program, highlights the progress made and opportunities that lie ahead.

State of Play 2021

Project Play research continues to track the impact of the pandemic on sport activity of youth. Led by editorial director Jon Solomon and University of Utah researcher Travis Dorsch, session presents the latest national survey results and insights, as reflected in our State of Play 2021 report.

Keynote Panel

They aren’t just soccer players. Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, Sydney Leroux and Alex Morgan are change agents, four of the most prominent female athletes in the country, whose diverse perspectives and advocacy have helped change the national conversation around sports. Now, they are all moms. A conversation on the ways that mothers, and parents broadly, can improve the state of play for children, making it more fun and equitable.

Other Speakers to be Announced

11:00 AM ET

TeamSnap Presents: Bringing Back Sports for Better

Join TeamSnap founder Dave DuPont as he connects with families, coaches, programs and partners on the implications of and opportunities presented by TeamSnap’s latest research on what families want from their youth sports experience.

12:00 PM ET

ESPN Presents: Helping Underrepresented Communities Return to Sports

Join us as we share ideas on how the youth sports industry can come together to ensure kids from communities of color have an opportunity to safely return to sports.

1:00 PM ET

Sport as Cancer Prevention

Did you know leisure-time physical activity is associated with reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and 13 types of cancer? Join us for this session with our partner American Cancer Society, as athletes, coaches, and health care leaders discuss how youth sports can develop healthy habits for life.

2:00 PM ET

Creating Local Cross-Sector Collaborations

Around the country, silos are connecting at the city and regional levels to grow access to sport. In partnership with the Movement for Sport Equity, leaders from four organizations share knowledge about how to build a coalition and governance, and advocate for shared interests. (Want more on this topic? MSEq will host a half-day workshop on Oct. 21. Learn more and register here).

3:30 PM ET

How Organizations Can Embed Children’s Rights in Sports
In August, Project Play released the Children’s Bill of Rights in Sports, a resource organizations can use to improve program quality. How to do that? Learn from leaders at three organizations putting aligned frameworks in place: Li Li Leung, President and CEO, USA Gymnastics; Kim Oden, Chair of Executive Board of Starlings Volleyball USA and Olympic medalist; and Chris Snyder, Vice President of Operations, i9 Sports.

How Coaches Can Help Kids with Mental Health Challenges
The overwhelming demand for mental health services is putting an unprecedented strain on pediatric facilities, primary care, schools and community-based organizations that support kids’ well-being. How do we build capacity for coaches and teams to help younger athletes, often conditioned to hide their emotions, speak openly about their struggles? A discussion with Dr. Kevin Chapman, clinical psychologist and TrueSport expert.

How to Get Your State to Fund Youth Sports
This spring, the state of New York became the first in the nation to legalize sports betting with an annual carve-out for youth sports. Now, other states are considering doing the same. How can you make the case where you live? We offer a roadmap in conversation with Monica Wallace, New York State Assembly Member; Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley, PLAYS executive director; and Julie Pearlman, Managing Director at Orrick.

How Government Oversight Can Improve the State of Play
What role can state governments play in reforming youth sports? How to balance competing interests in the estimated $30 billion youth sports industry? Massachusetts state senator Barry Finegold explores the possibilities with moderator Adriana Sánchez Parés , former director of the Department of Sports and Recreation in Puerto Rico.

Event information
Tue Oct 19, 2021 - Wed Oct 20, 2021