Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!

by National Fitness Foundation
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!
Ensure all youth in America have access to sports!

The National Fitness Foundation, the official charity of the President’s Council on Sport, Fitness and Nutrition is dedicated to providing safe, affordable sport and fitness opportunities for our country’s youth.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a negative and destructive force across virtually all aspects of society. Unfortunately, the work the Foundation does to increase physical activity and expand access to sport was negatively impacted more than most sectors. return to normal in the physical activity and youth sport space can’t come soon enough because physical activity levels and youth sport participation took two or three steps backwards during the pandemic. Not surprisingly, Type 2 diabetes rates among American kids doubled, a staggering statistic. Research is also showing a spike in adolescent weight gain, and nearly one-third of youth sport organizers that shut down do not believe they will ever reopen.

On the other hand, if there was one silver lining from the pandemic, it was that COVID-19 exposed and shined a spotlight on massive gaps in the US physical activity system. As a nation, it became clear we aren’t investing enough in the physical and human infrastructure required to improve fitness and overall wellness levels. These gaps also exposed massive health inequities in underserved communities.

It also demonstrated that declining health and fitness levels in America are a problem that cannot be solved by one entity or even with a massive increase in public investments in the space. Success will require a comprehensive effort across government, and deep coordination with private sector stakeholders. While we are hopeful the Tokyo Olympics may serve as a springboard for widespread increases in physical activity and athletic pursuits at home and abroad, the effort to increase health, fitness and wellbeing levels in the U.S. requires more than slogans, public relations and even an Olympics that bring the world together around sport. It will require a coordinated public/private effort, with a deep commitment to systemic and behavioral change. That won’t happen overnight. And success won’t come easy. But we’re confident it can be done, and we’re confident elected officials will do their part to provide the necessary funding and investments in the space. We’re also confident there are plenty of private companies willing to join our cause to improve America’s health, fitness and wellness outcomes.

The National Fitness Foundation continues to forge local partnerships that are committed to our mission of expanding access to youth sports. These partnerships will be showcased through four potential areas of development: ACTIVATING athletes and coaches sign the American Youth Sports Pledge, committing support for youth sports in America; CROWDFUNDING through fundraising initiatives that engage and encourage fans to make donations to the National Fitness Foundation; AMPLIFYING joint marketing + social media campaigns that amplify National Fitness Foundation messaging to fans via pledges, player appearances and PSAs; and SUPPORTING our cause in the form of in-kind support including tickets, merchandise, autographs, meet-and-greets and exclusive opportunities to drive revenue for Foundation programs.

All of our partners can be found at www.fitness.foundation/partners2. Please contact us should you like to join us in support of our mission of providing all youth with the opportunity to live healthy and active lives.

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We are proud to announce the inaugural American Youth Sports Awards (AYSA) celebrating those moving youth sports forward in helping to solve our national health crisis. The Awards will honor charities, youth programs, corporations, community relations departments, professional and collegiate teams, colleges and individual leaders in Youth Sports. Year-one will focus on the Awards themselves, and the event will grow into an annual gala and business summit.

 

Donations will be made to charities selected by the Hall of Fame class who have made extraordinary contributions to youth sport and used sport to positively influence and improve the lives of young Americans. Organizations in need will qualify for grants to be used to further the Foundation’s mission of providing every American child with equal access to sport regardless of their zip code. The National Fitness Foundation will require organizations to report back on how funds were used to create an AYSA impact report to be released the following year.

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Pledge
Pledge

Before they were competing for championships at the NCAA level, many of Carolina’s student-athletes, coaches and staff members began their careers in youth sports – learning sportsmanship, teamwork and leadership skills that will ultimately make them champions in and outside of athletic competition.

That’s why the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Athletics is proud to become the first NCAA Institution to partner with the National Fitness Foundation (NFF) to support and expand youth sport and athletics participation across the United States.

With support from the University, UNC Health and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Carolina Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham, Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and members of the NFF announced the partnership during a virtual event on November 18, then sign the American Youth Sports Pledge. The event was streamed on GoHeels.com and Facebook Live. Each of Carolina’s 22 head coaches signed the pledge in recognition of a “National Signing Day” for youth sports.

“As our nation’s oldest public University with one of the most extensive athletic programs in the country, Carolina is proud to become the first NCAA program to support the National Fitness Foundation in this endeavor,” said UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz. “Carolina reflects our state and we are deeply invested in the health and well-being of our children. I have seen the impact of sports in my own life, and I know that this partnership will have an impact on young people from our state and across our nation.

The National Youth Sports Strategy is a comprehensive physical activity plan for American youth created by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition. 

What people are saying about the partnership….

Dr. Wesley Burks, CEO, UNC Health, Dean, UNC School of Medicine

“We are proud to support the National Youth Sports Strategy along with many outstanding partners including UNC Athletics. At UNC Health, our mission is to promote the health and well-being of the people of North Carolina and we know that keeping kids active in sports and other activities is a great way to set a foundation for life-long health while also promoting vital skills like teamwork, dedication, and perseverance.”

Barbara Rimer, Dean, Gillings School of Global Public Health

“The Gillings School of Global Public Health enthusiastically supports the National Youth Sports Strategy to strengthen youth, family members, and communities through participation in sports. Increasing access, and helping communities make youth sports programs and facilities safe, accessible, and inclusive is consistent with the mission of the Gillings School and our research, teaching and service in North Carolina and around the world.”

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Thank you again for your support of the National Fitness Foundation (NFF).  We have been working diligently to advocate for youth sports since the onset of COVID-19.  Our efforts include direct outreach with politicians and major government departments.  Our hope is that our work ensures that youth sports remain a priority.

Here is a podcast interview that was done by our Executive Director, Clay Walker, at the onset of the pandemic: https://thebond.podbean.com/e/clay-walker-executive-director-national-fitness-foundation/?fbclid=IwAR344Vn2KgV1SSV8c8hrnSF-oq8K-A-m4utBG7mos2PylaaJYGhS52Lcjrg

We have also supported the creation of and marketing for the Presidential Youth Fitness Program's "PYFP at home" to ensure that America's youth are staying active and feeling the achievement of good health despite the pandemic and restrictions caused by it. 

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NFF is in the midst of addressing the impacts of COVID-19 on youth sports, which will remain a concern in the United States through mid-fall of 2020 and the “new norm” for social distancing will have an impact on coaches, youth participation (affordability) and even spectators (like Seniors) who may be less likely to go back to normal.

During the last recession, youth sport participation fell from 45% in 2008 to 38% in 2014. The philanthropic ecosystem has been affected by the economy. More children than ever before are going to be in need of inclusion due to economic impacts.

It is our hope that COVID-19 has solidified a heightened appreciation for keeping kids active and will incentivize policymakers to make the necessary changes to that children can savor the value of sports for the rest of their long and healthy lives.

Supporting NFF now will continue our advocacy and allow us to remain the voice of smaller nonprofits and youth-serving athletic clubs during this time.

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National Fitness Foundation

Location: Potomac, MD - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @FitnessFndn
Project Leader:
Heidi Webb
Silver Spring, MD United States
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