Sports can have a bigger purpose: To Bridge and Build Youth. Using “sports as a hook,” athletes and non-athletes in high school can:
- Share experiences and life while recognizing and respecting other cultures, races, traditions, regions and beliefs
- Build skills in servant leadership, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and life to fully participate in commerce and community as adults
What is “sports as a hook?”
Pro sports assets can be leveraged: Brands; infrastructure; talent on and off the court, field, diamond; impressive sometimes tax-subsidized venues; business sponsors; farm teams; events; business relations with leagues; suppliers; service providers; professions; foundations; schools; camps; media; alumni. Pro sports can support school and local sports. The concept can serve all educational, voluntary and community programs.
What’s happened so far?
In 2017, 200 plus interviews shaped the concept. In 2018, the concept was tested twice with youth and earned positive evaluations coordinated by the UW-Madison. A strategic plan followed. Substantial amounts of donated funds, in-kind services and volunteer hours have been invested.
2019 is the 50th anniversary of the historic 1969 Beloit-Neenah championship basketball game and Lamont Weaver’s “the shot heard around the state.” So Beloit and Neenah youth issued a call to action:
- Youth of all ages, abilities, races, genders symbolically dribble a message to Madison
- Youth from Beloit, Neenah, Milwaukee actually dribble in a school to school relay to Madison
- Youth gather for a United in Wisconsin Day in Madison
- A never-seen-before basketball game with students from across the state
- Students teach financial literacy, entrepreneurship, servant leadership, investment
- Students lead conversations about diversity and community
- Students use social media to create community
A Master Framework offers discrete 2019 projects for sponsors. The concept requires outside support for a full test.
In 2020, a report will go to the sports, business and education communities, plus a research strategy. The concept uses the collective impact approach to social change by highly leveraging cross-sector coordination.
Founders of Bridge and Build come from the Wisconsin Academy of Global Education and Training and Asset Builders of America.