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Baltimore's Project Play Summit aims to improve the state of youth athletics

State of Play Summit seeks to improve Baltimore youth's well-being
State of Play Summit seeks to improve Baltimore youth's well-being 02:24

BALTIMORE -- Under Armour and the Aspen Institute are teaming up for the State of Play Summit. 

It's an annual sports conference highlighting the importance of youth sports since only about half of kids in the U.S. Currently participate in sports, according to their research.  

The summit's organizers are working to improve the state of youth athletics.  

Project Play is all about youth sports and they're working to get more kids involved and they're using Baltimore as the blueprint.  

Dwitt Doss is the athletic dir. at Edmondson Westside High School, so he knows playing sports can have a big impact on a child's life.  

"Keeping them involved in more than one sport or more activity, they're more likely to be going off further, not just in school but in life afterwards," said Doss. 

It's why Doss is attending the Aspen Institute's Project Play Summit presented Under Armour.  

"Aspen Institute is an organization that we commissioned back in 2017 to drive a landscape analysis for us around the state of youth Sports here in Baltimore," Blake Maciel, director of Project Rampart at Under Armour said. "That report showed all the successes that our young people got to enjoy but also showed plenty of inequities that they were facing."  

Under Armor and Aspen's research tracks the progress Baltimore is making to expand and get more children involved with sports. 

"That research we were able to develop the innovative solutions that now stands 'Project Rampart', and that is our opportunity to look at the student athlete at the high school level in public and charter schools across the city to be able to support them from everything from facilities to uniforms to leadership development," Flynn Burch, the director of global community impact at Under Armour, said. 

Investments and growth have already been made in youth recreational leagues, middle and high school sports.  

"We've actually been working with the school district to implement a middle school strategy that they rolled out – 8 District led sports over the past year during the 2023-2024 school year for all 80+ schools here, K-8 here in Baltimore City," Maciel said. 

"They've put in money and just resources. It's into our gyms, into facilities and to our student athletes as far as equipment and uniforms," Doss explained. "Just being a part of that whole thing and cultivating our athletics in Baltimore City – it's been a blessing." 

As for what's next, Under Armour and the Aspen Institute plan to take what they're doing here in Baltimore and take it to Califonia next year. 

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