State of Play Camden

May 25, 2021  • Sports & Society Program

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Key Points

  • Local programs are challenged by a lack of resources, collaboration, and now, the pandemic.
  • Middle school sports often leave Camden youth unprepared for high school sports.
  • Girls in Camden have fewer opportunities to play sports than boys.
  • Basketball is the most played sport among youth, by far.
  • Camden has relatively few parks and recreation spaces.
  • Lack of transportation options is a major barrier that limits access to local programs.
  • Building trust within the community for sustainable solutions is essential.

The Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program analyzed the landscape of youth sports in the city of Camden from November 2019 to October 2020. State of Play Camden offers a snapshot of how well adults are serving youth through sports, recreation and other physical activities.

Findings for this report were developed through multiple methods: input from project advisory group members; individual interviews with a broad collection of stakeholders and community members; focus-group discussions with youth; surveys conducted of youth; media accounts; and existing reports, policy analyses and publicly available data collected by the Aspen Institute with support from Ellen Staurowsky, former Drexel University sport management professor.

State of Play Camden is the Institute’s 10th overall community report. The Aspen Institute has produced county reports on Seattle/King County, Washington and Mobile County, Alabama; a state report on Hawai’i; regional reports on Southeast Michigan, Western New York, Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes, and Central Ohio; and local reports on East Harlem and East Baltimore. Stakeholders in those communities have taken actions based on the recommendations and are seeing results.