June 19, 2019

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?”

We are currently implementing or funding some of those ideas through pilot programs and events focused on testing out answers to this question.

One of the initiatives we have launched is the Project Play WNY Community Conversations.  Modeled after the November 2017 State of Play Western New York roundtable events, the purpose of the Project Play WNY Community Conversations is to bring adults who care about or work in the youth sport sector together to discuss the issues behind the 84 percent statistic and brainstorm solutions. In our fast-paced, smart phone and social media driven society, we tend to forget the importance and value of simply getting together to discuss ideas with others who share our interests and passion for the community.

On March 23, we hosted a Community Conversation that addressed the current state of youth sports and whether it could be reimagined to engage and retain more children. Please check out the full recap of that event in this newsletter. Post-event feedback was overwhelmingly positive, which has led the Project Play WNY team to believe that we as an organization need to continue to bring WNY together to talk about youth sport.  The next Community Conversation event, the Free Play Challenge Launch, was held on May 5. As the full event recap notes, this event focused on the importance of play in youth sports and life. These Community Conversations were free of charge.

Next up for Project Play WNY are two fun initiatives aimed at getting kids and families outside and moving. On Wednesday evenings in July, we will host developmental track meets for kids ages 6 to 13.  The intent of the meets is to introduce kids to the sport of track and field through a low pressure learning environment.  Niagara Falls High School will host the meets on July 10 and 17 and Buffalo Public Schools will host at All High Stadium on July 17 and 31. Coaches and officials from USA Track Niagara will help conduct the meets and we have some surprises for the kids at each meet.

In July, we will also be announcing more Free Play events for you and the kids in your lives to enjoy.  Please make sure you are following us on social media to learn more!