Youth on Course has recently signed on to join the PLAY Sports Coalition, which is focused on ensuring the institutions connected to youth and local sports survive and thrive coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
PLAY Sports, which stands for Promoting Local and Youth Sports, represents a united front to support young athletes, working families, coaches and volunteers across all 50 states, particularly those in underserved areas, through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The fragmented and grassroots nature of youth sports necessitated an industry Coalition to work cooperatively, and with the federal, state and local governments and agencies, to advocate for a collective survival and impactful return. Without a cooperative approach, youth sports families and organizations will struggle, and a return to play would at least be delayed, if not fail.
“Playing sports can change a child’s life,” says Michael Lowe, VP of Programs at Youth on Course. “For some, it’s a life-saver and we have to ensure that all youth have access to play and learn through sports whenever it’s safe for them to do so. This will require dedicated funding to provide economic stability for youth sports organizations throughout this pandemic and beyond. The youth sports sector also needs established guidelines and protocols for the safe return and continuation of programs. It is Youth on Course’s duty to support the PLAY Coalition’s advocacy efforts to ensure our children’s right to play.”
According to recent poll results shared by the Aspen Institute Project Play Initiative, nearly 60% of local sports leaders said their organizations will project to lose at least 50% of their revenue over the next year due to COVID-19. They have experienced, or are facing, layoffs, furloughs, bankruptcies and facility foreclosures. This includes direct impacts to millions of grassroots coaches who provide invaluable time and leadership to their young athletes and sports.
Sports provides significant benefits to young people including physical, social, emotional and cognitive benefits. Sports also provide youth with opportunities for building character, leadership and resiliency.
Youth on Course also joined the National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS). The organization is comprised of important players in the youth sports industry nationwide. As the largest organization in America serving the industry, NCYS serves 60 million registered participants in organized youth sports programs. Members are recognized as the gatekeepers, key decision-makers, influencers and advocates for youth sports participation.