The Games Have Changed

Organized Youth Sports

Informal play, sandlot sports, and pickup games–with the exception of basketball–have gone the way of the dinosaurs.  Playgrounds are no longer crowded with kids choosing up teams. Unstructured outdoor childhood has all but vanished.

If a child wishes to play baseball these days, he or she must join an organized league. But there are costs—sometimes high costs—to do so: enrollment fees, equipment and uniform costs, and travel expenses.   Too many families cannot afford this, which means their children can’t play.  As a result, a significant portion of America’s children are not engaged in sports and athletics.  They are often idle and alone.

We work with youth sports leagues and teams to make youth sports affordable and available to low income kids.

The cost for one child to play one sport for one season on an organized team often exceeds $500, and can be as high as $5,000 or more.  It’s easy to see how such added expense is well beyond the means of many. Transportation, especially in rural or suburban areas, is also a problem and yet another financial hurdle.  Because working single mothers often have low-income families, they are often unable to manage transportation costs and or the time to get their children to practice and games.

Ways You Can Help

Did You Know? Only 3% of youth in low-income areas play organized sports

Ways You Can Help


School Sports

Charges to participate in school sports are also expanding rapidly and the fees are steadily increasing. In addition, students are expected to purchase their own equipment and uniforms as well as pay for medical exams, injury expenses and additional team fees. The average cost to participate in one sport for one season was $381 per student in 2011.

Pay to Play Keeping Low Income Children Out of After School Sports

Science Daily (May 14, 2012) — School districts across the country are cutting athletic budgets. Many schools now have participation fees to cover the cost of school sports. And those fees have forced kids in lower-income families to the sidelines, according to a new poll. For families making less than $60,000 a year — so some of them aren’t exactly in the poorhouse — nearly one in five noted a cutback in participation because of cost. That’s four times the rate of those making over $60,000 a year. The numbers are more stark for families below the poverty line.

More than $3.5 billion was cut from sports programs in public schools in the past 2 years.