#DONTRETIREKID
Kids everywhere drop out of sports too early.Together, we can keep them in the game.

When it comes to our children’s future, we are playing games.

Project Play: Western New York is driven and funded by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s Youth Sports & Recreation focus area in partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program.

Our Mission

Project Play Western New York envisions a community in which all children have the opportunity to be active through sports.

Every child—regardless of location, income or ability—should have access to fun and fulfilling physical activities that build confidence and set them on a path for lifelong success.

Our Framework

Project Play Western New York is modeled after Project Play’s “Eight Plays.” These are eight strategies identified by the Aspen Institute to help children become—and stay—physically active through sports.

Nine out of ten kids say “fun” is the main reason they want to play sports. So, there’s really only one question: “What sounds like fun?”

Children who spend more time in less structured activities are generally better equipped to set their own goals and take action on them. Those children also display higher levels of academic creativity as college students.

By providing more athletic opportunities to children, we can increase the probability they will find a sport they enjoy. That improves the chances they will continue to play sports throughout their lives.

Travel teams often add complexity and cost to sports. That doesn’t translate to success or satisfaction for the children who participate in them. The answer? In-town leagues.

Sprawling mega-sports complexes are all the rage in suburbia, but for most kids, a quality play space can also be a simple, cost-effective one. In urban areas, this could mean finding modest spaces to develop into mini-fields. These locations are easier to find and can be developed for as little as $15,000. A full-sized turf field can cost as much as $1 million.

We need to accept that kids are not miniature adults. They deserve an experience that recognizes their mental, emotional and physical stages of development, and builds on them. The goal should be to improve, not to win. Games and drills with small teams lead to more individual chances to touch the ball and build key skills. This allows children to develop in their sports as they develop in their bodies.

A coach can develop a lifelong athlete – or destroy a child’s love for sports.

  • In one study, only 5% of kids who played for a trained coach quit the next year. That number jumped to 26% for untrained coaches.

We must increase the number of credentialed coaches in the U.S. At minimum, they should be trained in:

  • Coaching philosophy on how to work with kids
  • Best practices in the areas of physical literacy and sport skills
  • Basic safety

Nine out of ten parents have safety concerns, especially regarding concussions. Youth sports should produce positive health outcomes. Therefore, policies and rule changes that eliminate or greatly reduce head contact for kids 12 & under should be introduced.

For Families

All families want the best for their kids. We hope the following resources and events can help to guide you on a path toward the opportunities and information you need to get and keep your child playing!

LEARN MORE

For Coaches

As a volunteer or professional coach, you are always on the run from one practice or game to the next, but these resources can help you up your game on your time and from your own home or office.

LEARN MORE

For Youth Sports Organizations

As our initiative gains momentum, community and youth sports organizations will play a vital role in inspiring our children with the power of play. Explore Project Play: Western New York’s resources to create more opportunities for play in your youth programs.

LEARN MORE

Ready to change the lives of Western New York’s youth for the better?

Follow us to get the latest on how to support, advocate and participate in Project Play WNY.

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Project Play WNY
Project Play WNY13 hours ago
Check out our new Events Calendar to learn about youth sports programming and events happening in Western New York! https://www.projectplaywny.org/events/
If you are a youth sports organization and would like to submit your event or clinic, please submit to projectplaywny@cfgb.org. Space is limited and priority will be given to youth sport events that are free and open to the public!
Project Play WNY
Project Play WNY7 days ago
Who says hula hooping can only be done in the summertime? Add an extra layer of winter gear (and fun!) and try it in the snow! #freeplaywny
Project Play WNY
Project Play WNY1 week ago
Happy Tuesday! Every day is a great day to get out and play! #freeplaywny
Project Play WNY
Project Play WNY2 weeks ago
Thank you to all of our special guests and youth sports coaches for joining us before the Bills game today! #thankyoucoach
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Questions? Concerns? Ideas?

We want to hear from you. Email us at projectplaywny@cfgb.org or call us at 716-852-2857 ext. 200.