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Report on youth sports in Southeast Michigan gives region a C+

Kids playing soccer

Sports are an essential part of youth development, and one of the best ways for kids to be active and healthy. But according to a new report, Michigan isn't doing enough to provide outlets for, and encourage youth engagement in, sports.

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan released State of Play, "an independent assessment conducted by the Aspen Institute's Sports & Society Program that examines access, quality, and participation in youth sports in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Livingston, Monroe, and St. Clair counties."

The report, which gave the Southeast Michigan region a grade of C+, contains some alarming regional deficiencies, such as the fact that only "13 percent of youth across Southeast Michigan are physically active one hour a day, the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

One interesting finding is that the lack of kids to play freely—whether in neighborhood games, on the playground, or by sampling many sports—has negatively impacted the amount of and their desire to exercise.

"Our vision is to have a Southeast Michigan community in which all children, regardless of ZIP code or ability, have the opportunity to be active through sports," said David O. Egner, President & CEO, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. "The State of Play report identifies the challenges we face as a region, but more importantly, it also shares the opportunities that all of us in the community—parents, educators, funders, and leaders—can pursue for improvement."

Some of those opportunities outlined in the report include bigger ideas like connecting stakeholder silos and bringing play spaces closer to where children live, and more specific suggestions like forming equipment exchanges or starting a youth sports blog. 

Download the full report here
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