Increasing Access to Youth Sports

10/29/2020 3 p.m. EDT

Session Type:  Education Session (1 hour)

Track: Recreation and Sports Programming


Pre-COVID-19, the gap in physical activity and access to youth sports among low-income youth and youth of color was continuing to grow larger and larger. As youth sports have paused or been re-imagined during the pandemic, we are at a pivotal moment. Not only do we need to re-imagine the youth sports during the pandemic, but also park and recreation professionals have the opportunity to re-image the delivery and model of youth sports, so that all children have the opportunity to achieve the health and social benefits of sports. Between ensuring affordable access to facilities, fields and other play spaces, and offering recreational sports programming, parks and recreation can bridge this divide and ensure all youth have access to the benefits of both free and structured play. This session will focus on strategies to increase equitable access to high-quality youth sports that maximize use of spaces and increase participation in programs.


Learning Outcomes:

Understand the current gaps in access to youth sports and particularly how COVID-19 has contributed to increasing these gaps.

Understand the role of parks and recreation professionals in closing the gap in access to youth sports.

Understand key strategies and principals for how park and recreation professionals can close gaps in access during and post COVID-19.


Rachel Banner

Director of Park Access, National Recreation and Park Association

Tom Farrey

Aspen Institute

Sarah Margeson

Program Manager, King County Parks

Sterling Stevenson

Recreation Coordinator, City of Orlando, Florida


Bilan Aden

Program Director, African Community Housing and Development


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