KIDS Community, Inc. is excited to announce that we have received funding to support research programs aimed to assess the status of community-based youth sports in the evolving landscape of expanding club sports and the professionalization of youth sports, impacts of loss of access to youth sports on health and wellness of youth, particularly from low socioenomic backgrounds, and potential solutions to address funding for and access to community-based youth sports.
It is well established that youth sports have changed significantly over the past 20 years, with recent acceleration of declining access to community based-youth sports. Numerous factors have contributed to these changes, including but not limited to the rising cost of participation, lack of access to facilities and equipment, shortage of qualified coaches and volunteers, global recessions, the pandemic, and the further professionalization of youth sports. These changes are causing significant shifts in the roles of non-profit sports organization, club sports organizations, corporate funders and investors. Much needs to be done to attenuate the loss of access, the ensuing mental and physical health challenges in our community's youth, and set and achieve goals toward gaining equity in access to youth sports.
Our research program will first focus on an assessment of the current landscape of youth sports nationally, via a literature review and engagement with leading organizations involved in the field. We will then dive deeper into assessing the local (Raleigh, NC and surrounding counties) and regional (NC, SC, VA) access to community-based youth sports via engagement with relevant organizations in these communities. Additionally, we will utilize surveys and interviews with youth sports participants, parents, coaches and administrators in these communities with a goal of gathering data on current participation levels, perceptions of access to youth sports, impact of club sports on access, state youth sports professionalization, barriers or challenges to participation and correlation of mental and physical health impacts and access to participation. Further, we will undertake a comprehensive policy analysis to assess policies and regulations related to youth sports and analyze their potential impact on community sports programs.
Following these assessments, we will work along with communities to develop an array of potential solutions for addressing access community-based youth sports, including policy recommendations, funding strategies, and best practices to support and grow the sustainability of youth-based community sports program, aiming to provide equitable access, and working to improve the overall health and wellness of youth in the community.
More information coming soon!
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