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Giving Thanks and Not Giving Up

The year that has felt more like a decade is coming to an end. A year that no one will forget. A year marked with losses unimagined and devastating. For youth sports, a positive test on an NBA team moved quickly into a canceled spring, a modified summer, and first of its kind fall. Like…

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Recaps of Virtual Summits

Amid the pandemic, the Aspen Institute decided to make their annual Project Play Summit virtual. In years past, the Summit has been a two-day in-person event that gathers leaders in the youth sports space from across the country to discuss the challenges facing youth sports and activate change. In this year’s virtual setting, the Summit…

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Youth Sports Forum

The Project Play WNY Youth Sports Forum is a private group on Facebook where our youth sports community can virtually gather to discuss ideas and exchange information on how we change the narrative around youth sports so it is focused on building happier kids, healthier families and stronger communities. 

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Youth Voice Corner: Gabby Dispenza

Project Play WNY is honored to host Gabby as this month’s Youth Voice Corner guest author. As you will read, Gabby has a wonderful perspective to share on the role sport has played in her life thus far and the lessons and lifeskills she has attained from being an athlete. Gabby’s words remind us that…

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Talking Cities: Priced Out, Pushed Out, Stuck In/Burnt Out

Listen to our Director, Bridget Niland, discuss our initiative with Matt Enstice, President & CEO of Buffalo Niagara Medical Center.

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Just Icing on the Cake?

The calendar tells us that we celebrate a new year on January 1, but for many families, the start of a new school year and the onset of fall seems like a better benchmark for the passage of time. The arrival of the new school year often brings the start of a new class, perhaps…

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What is NOT Canceled – Let’s Get Playing

This fall has brought more questions than answers regarding how our kids will remain active. At Project Play WNY, we want to let you know what is NOT canceled and help spread the word on fall programming that IS available.

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Youth Voice Corner: Charlie Meyer

Project Play WNY is excited to launch the Youth Voice Corner, in which we will share a youth perspective on the current state of sport and recreation in WNY.  Our first guest writer is East Aurora first year high school student Charlie Meyer.  We met Charlie after he reached out to us last spring offering…

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Grantee Spotlight: YMCA of the Twin Tiers

Project Play Western New York appreciates the role our partners across the region play in allowing kids to be active, particularly at a time when so many things in their lives have changed. As everyone works through the challenges of 2020, these organizations are providing families access to vital sports and activities.

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Times Like No Other

Would you agree that an underlying formula to most athletic endeavors is to plan, train, and execute?  We learn this formula through the backyard or pick-up games played with friends and family.  As we grow older, we develop a keener sense of how this formula works — first in sports, then in school, and hopefully, if the lessons stick, in life. It is the transferable skill of discipline: learn…

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Project Play WNY’s Commitment to Advancing Equity Through Sport

The COVID-19 crisis and the tragic death of George Floyd have created a renewed call to action to address the inequities that result from centuries of discrimination and racism. As an organization built around a mission to ensure all kids have access to sports regardless of zip code, racial equity and inclusion are at the…

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Summer of PlayPacks

In a summer like no other, Project Play WNY is partnering with Victory Sports and youth-serving organizations to distribute PlayPacks to help keep kids active and engaged. The PlayPacks typically include a playground ball, two tennis balls, jump ropes, chalk, and our Free Play deck of cards. All the equipment you need to play many of…

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Grantee Spotlight: The Champion Project

During these unprecedented times, Project Play Western New York remains grateful for all of our partners in youth sports across the region. As always, we are honored to share the important work of our grantees.

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Project Play WNY Launches the Summer 2020 Free Play Challenge

Are you ready to join the WNY Free Play Challenge?

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Hiking Trails in Western New York

Summer has arrived! After a long winter, it is only natural to try to pick outdoor activities. Thankfully, Western New York (WNY) has a variety of beautiful hiking trails.

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COVID-19 Reopening Information

A goal of Project Play WNY is to provide a central point information for Youth Sports Organizations and families as they tackle the complexities of the COVID-19 crisis. Below is a summary of government guidance and resources to businesses and organizations on returning to play.

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Survey of Parent Readiness to Return to Play

In an effort to further support youth sports organizations, the PPWNY Capacity Building Working Group is offering to conduct a survey of parent readiness to return to play. Dr. Darren Treadway will handle the administration and data analysis for your organization as you assess your reopening options.

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Grantee Spotlight: SABAH Inc.

During these challenging times, Project Play Western New York remains grateful for all of our partners in youth sports across the region. As always, we are honored to share the important work of our grantees.

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Webinar Recap

Webinars are quickly becoming the new norm during this time. More and more organizations are leading the charge in helping make resources free and accessible for all.

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Play Pulls Us Through

Five weeks.  That is how much time has passed since we sent out our last Project Play WNY newsletter. A short time frame and yet so much has changed. Some of us have lost friends and loved ones to the virus, leaving thoughts of work, recreation and sports on the very back burner of our minds.…

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Masks and Exercise During in COVID WNY

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COVID-19 Youth Sports Organization Relaunch Framework

Project Play WNY Capacity Building Working Group has compiled information and suggestions on what to rethink when relaunching your youth sports organizations.

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CDC Guidelines – Interim Guidance for Child Care Programs

The reopening of child care programs is crucial to helping parents and guardians return to work. Many States have closed
schools for the academic year and, with summer quickly approaching, an increasing number of working parents may need to
rely on these programs.

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Injury Prevention Webinar

Project Play WNY, in partnership with the UB Center for the Advancement of Sport, hosted their first webinar on Injury Prevention with Dr. Les Bisson, MD Professor and Chair of the Orthopaedics Surgery at the University at Buffalo and the team physician for the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres. Dr. Bisson stressed the importance of staying active and using this 6-week injury prevention program. Too many young athletes are going to return to sports and have soft tissue injuries due to the long hiatus from competition. We have an opportunity right now to prevent injuries by encouraging and educating our youth to participate in the program.

WATCH NOW!

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Call For Feedback

Project Play WNY is cataloging and sharing resources on topics from keeping kids active and engaged to how youth sports organizations can survive in these times and how to emerge stronger and more impactful in our community.

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Resources For These Times

To support the WNY community during the uncertainty of the COVID 19 crisis, Project Play WNY will continue to circulate through its social media channels and web-site, activities and information to help families and educators keep kids active and engaged.  

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Tough Times Make Tough Teams

Unprecedented times. Uncertain times. These phrases run throughout emails, news reports and social media posts. Yet for all the unimaginable and all the uncertainty in which we are living, the sports world, especially youth sports, has delivered what it always has: hard work, resilience, leadership, teamwork and compassion. 

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Grantee Spotlight: Confident Girl Mentoring

Project Play Western New York is grateful for all of our partners in youth sports across the region. We are honored to share the important work of our grantees.

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Free Play Days and Community Conversation 2020

Building off the momentum from First Night Buffalo on December 31, Project Play WNY partnered with Alfred University and YMCA of the Twin Tiers for a Free Play Zone on February 15. Our goal was to engage Allegany County in a community day featuring Alfred University’s student-athletes as the programmers for each station. More than…

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Huddle Up March: End the Madness – Time to Find Some Solutions

March is for sure a month of madness here at Project Play WNY.  Like most WNYers, we love a good game of basketball, but when it comes to sports, Project Play WNY is always shooting for something a little different from what we see on TV (pun absolutely intended). Our work over the past few…

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March 28 2020 Community Conversation: Youth Sports Re-Imagined 2.0

Please join us for the Project Play Western New York 2020 Community Conversation: Youth Sports Re-Imagined 2.0. Building off of the success of previous Community Conversations, Youth Sports Re-Imagined 2.0 is a free event on Saturday, March 28, 2020, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Buffalo Grand Hotel.  

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Sabres announce partnership with Project Play Western New York

The Buffalo Sabres today announced that the team has partnered with Project Play Western New York. This organization helps to highlight the resources available to the youth of Western New York by providing the opportunity for local kids to be physically active in sports regardless of their age, background, gender or ability.

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The Great Middle School Sports Search

Project Play joins forces with Mission Tiger to impact at-risk middle school sports programs. Today, the Aspen Institute’s Project Play and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes’ Mission Tiger are launching the first-ever search for the best middle school sports programs.

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Sports and the Young Mind

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Project Play WNY, and the University at Buffalo’s Center for the Advancement of Sport, present the Project Play WNY Community Conversation: Sports and the Young Mind.  

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Grantee Spotlight- Algonquin Sports for Kids

At Project Play Western New York, we are grateful for all of our partners in youth sports across the region, and feature the important work of our grantees. Algonquin Sports for Kids is a nonprofit with a dedicated approach to the development of youth sports programs in the City of Buffalo.

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First Night Buffalo

Project Play Western New York welcomed the new decade with a Free Play Zone at the Independent Health Foundation’s First Night Buffalo. The event brought over 300 families together to enjoy some Free Play Fun!

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Huddle Up January 2020: A Resolution for WNY in 2020

As January marks the time for resolutions, let’s resolve that 2020 is the year WNY families and kids play sports as much as we watch sports. This thought came to me over the holiday break as I was encouraging my kids to turn off the college game on TV and go play the game outside.

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WNY Living Segment on Project Play WNY

In case you missed WNY Living on Saturday, December 21, Project Play WNY Director Bridget Niland spoke about the importance of providing opportunities for kids to be active through sports.

Watch here

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Community Foundation Now Accepting Applications for 2020 Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Fund

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo is now accepting applications for the 2020 Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds competitive grant process. For more information click here.

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Grantee Spotlight- West Side Rowing

At Project Play Western New York, we are grateful for all of our partners in youth sports across the region. In each newsletter, we feature the important work of our grantees.

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First Community Conversation on Capacity Building

One of the focus areas for Project Play WNY is building the organizational capacity to support high-quality youth sports organizations.  This is done by strengthening the skills, processes and resources within organizations to enable them to be more effective and sustainable.

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Huddle Up November 2019: Let’s Give Thanks

Project Play WNY has spent the better part of 2019 highlighting the problem points of the 21st Century Youth Sports model. We have intentionally drawn attention to data and circumstances that indicate too many WNY kids are getting priced out, pushed out, or burnt out of youth sports.

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WNY Coaches Honored at Nov. 3 Bills Game

Before the kickoff at the Bills vs. Washington Redskins game at New Era Field on Nov. 3, hundreds of local youth sports coaches gathered in the stadium’s Business Class Suite to celebrate their successes.

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Dick Gallagher Receives 2019 Project Play WNY Thank You Coach Lifetime Service Award

Project Play WNY hosted its inaugural Thank You Coach event for over 100 local youth sports coaches at the Nov. 3 Buffalo Bills game. As part of the event, the first-ever Thank You Coach Lifetime Service Award was given to Dick Gallagher.

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Grantee Spotlight- Victory Sports Global Outreach, Inc.

At Project Play Western New York, we are thankful for all of our partners in youth sports across the region, and feature the important work of our grantees.Victory Sports Global Outreach, Inc. aims to help under-resourced schools, leagues, teams and kids obtain all the equipment they need to play a sport and compete.

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Summer Track Series & Free Play Days

Wow, what a summer it has been for Project Play WNY! Our Track and Field Strategies Group helped launch our Developmental Summer Track Series pilot in July. The free developmental track meets for kids ages 13 and under featured sprinting, jumping and throwing events, and gave kids the opportunity to sample a new sport.

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Huddle Up September 2019: A Message from Bridget Niland

In our day-to-day work, Project Play WNY is focused on expanding opportunities for kids of all backgrounds to be active through sport.  During our various volunteer committee and working group discussions, we brainstorm “how do we get the 84 percent of kids who are not moving enough during the week to be more active?”

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Detroit to Host the Aspen Institute’s Project Play Summit in September; First Speakers Announced

The fifth Project Play Summit will take place September 17-18 at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, MI, marking the first time the summit has been scheduled outside of Washington, DC. Former NBA star Chris Webber and NCAA champion gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field will be discussing the importance of youth sports and the state of play.

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Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo Announces Grant Awards Totaling $1.3 Million from Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo announced that 57 Western New York organizations will receive a total of $1.3 million in grant awards from endowment funds created to carry on the legacy of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.

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Huddle Up June 2019: A Message from Bridget Niland

In our day-to-day work, Project Play WNY is focused on expanding opportunities for kids of all backgrounds to be active through sport.  During our various volunteer committee and working group discussions, we brainstorm “how do we get the 84 percent of kids who are not moving enough during the week to be more active?”

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Hundreds Join Community Conversations

It has been a busy spring for Project Play WNY! The working groups developed some exciting pilot programs that were launched to gauge the interest within the Western New York youth sports community. Here is a play-by-play of the action!

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Grantee Spotlight- Rural Outreach Center

Project Play WNY is fortunate to partner with so many organizations in Western New York, and this month, we would like to feature the Rural Outreach Center (ROC).

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Free Play Challenge Event May 5

Please join us for the Project Play Western New York Free Play Challenge Event. Building off the success of the Project Play Western New York Community Conversations, this free event will take place on Sunday, May 5, 2019, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the ADPRO Fieldhouse, One Bills Drive in Orchard Park.

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Grantee Spotlight: Buffalo City Swim Racers

As Project Play WNY reaches its one year milestone, we feel fortunate to partner with so many longstanding youth sport organizations in Western New York, and would like to share the good work of these organizations. Up first are the Buffalo City Swim Racers.

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Project Play Western New York: 2019 Community Conversations

We are organizing events to bring together individuals and organizations throughout our region to address the calls for action in the State of Play WNY report.

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Huddle Up: A Message from Bridget Niland, Winter 2019

As 2019 moves into full swing, all of us at Project Play WNY are excited for what we will be launching and how it will serve as a reset on youth sports in our region.

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KaBOOM! and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Renew Partnership to Bring Play to More Communities in Need

Building upon the initial Built to Play Initiative, another $1 million is now available across Western New York and Southeast Michigan for creative ideas that incorporate play into everyday life in unexpected places

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Huddle Up: A Message from Bridget Niland, Fall 2018

For those of you who know me, to say that sports are in my blood is an understatement, and I was excited to hit the ground running in my new role as Director for Project Play WNY.

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$100 Million Investment in WNY

Did you hear? Oct. 17, 2018, was an incredible day for Western New Yorkers of all ages who want to get outside and play. In honor of what would have been Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.’s 100th birthday, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation announced a $100 million investment in Western New York’s parks and recreation…

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Project Play Summit a Success

Project Play WNY had a strong showing of participants and honored guests at the national Project Play Summit in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. Hosted by the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program, the annual Summit is the nation’s premier gathering of leaders in youth, sport and health.

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State of Play: WNY Youth Sports

Tom Farrey is executive director of the Sports & Society program at The Aspen Institute. Tom speaks during the presentation of State of Play: Western New York, a study on youth sports participation at the Holiday Valley Lodge in Ellicottville.

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State of Play, Part 2: Why making kids specialize in one sport is a mistake

Former pro football player Thurman Thomas and other experts explain why early sports specialization may not be a good idea for our youth. They tell how a multi-sport background and the availability of safe, high-quality play spaces can greatly benefit the development of young athletes.

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Wilson Foundation to fund nine new public play spaces in WNY

As part of their Built to Play initiative, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation will be funding the development of nine innovative new play spaces. Made possible by KaBOOM! and their Play Everywhere Challenge, communities were given the opportunity to reimagine their public spaces to encourage play.

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Built To Play grants bringing new skateparks to WNY

To give kids more opportunities to engage in active play, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation teamed up with the Tony Hawk Foundation to build skateparks in underserved communities of Western New York. Up to five new skateparks will be built with the first round of funding.

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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. 222.