Project Play Summit Kicks Off in Detroit on September 17

September 13, 2019

Watch the Project Play Summit online and join the conversation on social media with #DontRetireKid; press are invited to apply for credentials

Contact: Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Aspen Institute

Jon Solomon
Editorial Director, Sports & Society Program
The Aspen Institute

Washington, DC – The fifth Project Play Summit takes place September 17-18 at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, MI. The nation’s premier gathering of youth, sports and health leaders takes measure of the state of play and charts next steps in building healthy children and communities through sports.

Speakers include Lions running back C.J. Anderson; University of Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich; Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson; New York Times columnist David Brooks; ESPN reporter Cassidy Hubbarth; seven-time NCAA champion gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field; Detroit Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem; and five-time All-NBA player Chris Webber. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will provide opening remarks.

The Project Play Summit, which is taking place outside of Washington, DC for the first time, is scheduled from 8:30am Tuesday, September 17 to 4:30pm, Wednesday, September 18 in the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. Project Play is an initiative of the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program, and the Project Play Summit will take place with the support of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Hospital for Special Surgery, Kellogg’s, Nike, Target, and NBC Sports.

The full agenda is available to view here. Selected sessions will be livestreamed here, including: 

  • Sept 17, 9:55-10:25am – Sports as Social Fabric, with New York Times columnist David Brooks and Special Olympics chairman Tim Shriver.
  • Sept 17, 1:25-2:10pm – Design for Development: Hoop Dreams at 25 – Is Youth Basketball Any Wiser Now? with Peter Gilbert, Hoop Dreams Filmmaker and Chris Webber, Former NBA All-Star.
  • Sept 17, 2:10-2:40pm Emphasize Prevention: How to Truly Reform USA Gymnastics, with Valorie Kondos Field, former UCLA Gymnastics Coach and Wendy Hilliard, Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation.
  • Sept 17, 4:00-4:30pmWhat I Learned in Youth Sports, with Detroit Lions running back C. J. Anderson.
  • Sept 18, 11:20am-12:00pmThink Small: Making It Happen in a Big Way, with Buffalo Mayor Bryon Brown and Arn Tellem, Vice Chairman, Palace Sports & Entertainment/Detroit Pistons.
  • Sept 18, 3:20-3:50pmCall for Leadership: The Role of Government in Driving Systems-Level Change, with CDC Physical Activity and Health Branch Chief Janet Fulton, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and State of Play Hawai’i Task Force Member Matt Wright.

Editor’s Note: Press interested in covering the Summit in-person should apply here for credentials or contact Photos and recordings will be available for media use during the event. Please credit the Project Play Summit, organized by the Aspen Institute, in any coverage.

More than 500 people will attend the 2019 Project Play Summit, which will feature:

  • Two full days of programming and networking. Includes 12 workshops on how to bring Project Play’s eight strategies from idea to action in communities nationwide.
  • Hoop Dreams at 25. A quarter-century after the popular basketball documentary showed two young Chicago kids trying to use basketball to improve their lives, what’s changed in youth basketball?
  • How to help all kids sample sports. Meet program leaders who have cut through cultural and financial barriers to introduce lesser-played sports to kids in minority communities.
  • Meet the unretired. Hear from kids and their parents on how they avoided or overcame obstacles that almost forced them to “retire” from sports.

Those not attending in person can also follow and join the conversation on social media by using #DontRetireKid and following @AspenInstSports on twitter. #DontRetireKid is a campaign by the Aspen Institute, ESPN, and partners. PSAs depict a boy calling a press conference to announce his retirement from sports, while a girl leaves the sideline to end her career prematurely. The average child quits playing a sport by age 11. most often because the sport just isn’t fun anymore. Parents report that kids as young as first grade are feeling stressed – and families are under pressure to cover rising costs, according to research that was released by the Aspen Institute to accompany the campaign.

About Project Play
An initiative of the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program, Project Play develops, applies and shares knowledge that helps stakeholders build healthy communities through sports. For more information, visit

About the Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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