Last week, over 450 researchers, advocates and athletes convened at the 2016 Project Play Summit to explore ways to increase youth access to sports. Expert panels assessed the state of play in the United States, citing successes and challenges from their own work with youth. Laureus USA shared their experiences in New Orleans, where they are building a cross-sector coalition to most effectively scale sport-based youth development. First Lady Michelle Obama reflected on how critical play was to her childhood, and called upon corporations and schools to re-introduce physical education into academic curricula.
Laureus USA CEO, Benita Fitzgerald Mosley joined the discussion at Project Play’s Closing Plenary “Call for Leadership | Treetops to grassroots: How to scale a culture of health in sports?” to give her point of view on how collective impact can best serve the interests of children, communities and public health; and how Laureus USA is harnessing the power of sport to help promote that social change.
The panel was moderated by Tom Farrey, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program, and Benita addressed Laureus’ plan to build a movement around sport-based youth development, providing specific insights of what Laureus has done and plans to do to help scale a culture of health through youth sport. Her messaging demonstrated how collective impact can best serve the interests of children, communities and public health. She said that by assuming the backbone role in New Orleans, Laureus USA has allowed sport organizations to work together. Instead of competing for funding and participants, these organizations are now sharing resources and building best practices. This process has made a deep impact on over 26,000 youth in the New Orleans community, and is developing into a model that Laureus USA will be able to scale to cities nationwide.