ECA Board Member Visits Project Play Summit
September 8, 2017
Last week, ECA board member and KIDSPORTS Executive Director Bev Smith traveled to Washington, DC for the fourth annual Project Play Summit. Hosted by the Aspen Institute, this year’s event focused on ways to measure success and promote sport initiatives to improve children’s health. Panels and discussions featured top athletes and sports leaders, including Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, WNBA player Chiney Ogwumike, NBC Sports announcers Dan Hicks and Rebecca Lowe, and others.
During the summit, Tom Farrey presented the 2017 Aspen Institute State of Play Report. Farrey is the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Sport and Society Program and a former ESPN reporter. In the report, Farrey outlined the progress Project Play stakeholders have made in promoting health and activity through youth sports.
Smith will apply the lessons she learned at the summit to KIDSPORTS programs and physical literacy clinics. By implementing the 8 Plays outlined in Project Play’s handbook into KIDSPORTS programs, Smith hopes to improve the long term health and wellbeing of children throughout our community. One of these plays is to think small. This play highlights the fact that youth sports facilities don’t need to be sprawling, state of the art complexes in order to have a positive impact on the health of a community. By creatively using fields and gyms, and building new sports facilities in small spaces, communities can encourage children to be more active.
Civic Park will embrace the “think small” idea. The new fieldhouse will include four middle school-sized indoor basketball courts. These courts can be converted into two NCAA-size courts or 6-7 volleyball courts. They can also be used for badminton, pickleball, or futsal. The outdoor turf field will be large enough to host professional soccer but can be split into eight smaller fields for youth games. The field can also host rugby, lacrosse, kickball, dodgeball, and ultimate frisbee. With a flexible design that can accommodate multiple activities, Civic Park will increase opportunities for physical activity among children and adults in our community.