MOVEments start when a group organizes to persuade the rest of society to correct a "wrong." MOVEments are often precipitated by a crisis.
MOVEments grow until they engage every sector of society.
MOVEments lead to lasting change.
Well I say, Let's MOVE!
I have written about the "wrong" already--the lack or sports and recreation opportunities facing American youth and the ease with which policy makers, education reformers, funders and schools continue to de-emphasize the value of sports versus other aspects of educational reform. Despite the fact that most of these leaders, themselves, would point to participating in athletics as the most formative experiences in their lives.
I have written about the crisis already---let me correct that---the "crises": a rising childhood obesity epidemic, a growing epidemic of youth violence in our cities, and a high school drop out rate that should embarrass the mightiest nation on earth.
What we need to focus on now is how to engage "every sector." Everyone of us who cares about sports must preach beyond our choir. We must find a way to tell stories of the power of sports to lead to lasting change. Here's the kind of stories we should shout from the roof tops:
I met a Latina Coach Across America Coach who uses sports to reduce the risk of diabetes among high-risk Latina girls. I want doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies to hear her story. I want the health sector to embrace the Sports-Based Youth Development Movement.
I met a Coach Across America Coach who rallies his entire community around reclaiming urban streets from violence by organizing mobile basketball courts. I want Mayors, police, and juvenile justice workers to hear his story. I want the law enforcement sector to embrace the Sports-Based Youth Development Movement.
I met a Coach Across America Coach who uses rowing to ensure that every single rower--despite coming from the worst performing public schools--wins a scholarship to college. I want Board of Eds, teachers, and principals to hear her story. I want the education community to embrace Sports-Based Youth Development Movement.
While the world is focused on the stories of the Olympic gold, we must be sure to tell the stories of grassroots sports as well. Through media, social media, town meetings, budget hearings, and everyday conversations. Let's not shy away from saying "I think sports can lead to lasting change. Just hear the story of my daughter, my son, me..." And if you have a story, feel free to send it to Up2Us so we can share it with leaders of every sector to advocate for our movement.
I'll say it again, Let's MOVE!
Paul Caccamo Executive Director