October 29, 2018

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.

At the Summit, stakeholders measured the national state of play and chart next steps in building healthy children and communities through sports. This year’s attendees received the latest research on trends in youth sports and heard from several national youth sport advocates, such as NBA star Kobe Bryant, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and track and field Olympian Jackie Joyner Kersee.

Among the WNY representatives at the Summit were Doug Rifenburg from Victory Sports Global Outreach, who was invited to speak by the Aspen Institute on the Bridge the Gap program, which aims to forge strong relationships between city law enforcement and kids in their communities. Doug delivered an impassioned presentation of the important work of Bridge the Gap and expressed gratitude to program partners, the City of Buffalo Police Department and the Buffalo Bills. Dr. Frank Cerny of the Rural Outreach Center (ROC) also presented at the Summit on the ROC’s innovative approach of bringing youth sport to impoverished rural regions. Among the ROC’s efforts with rural youth is a van stocked with sports and play equipment that travels through those areas and parks. In addition to Doug’s and Frank’s presentations, WNY received recognition of its progressive approach to youth sports. Victory Sports was joined by the Seneca Babcock Community Center and Algonquin Sports for Kids as members of Aspen’s inaugural class of Project Play Champions. The recognition is directed toward organizations taking new, meaningful and specific actions consistent with the strategies of Project Play.

Learn more about the Summit at www.aspenprojectplay.org/2018-project-play-summit/.