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School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management to Help Launch Game On Philly!

By: Steve Orbanek and Dylan Coyle
First Published: January 22, 2020
Topics: Faculty, In the News, Industry Partnerships, New Programs, Research, Sport, STHM School

Three-year grant-supported project aims to increase youth sports participation in Philadelphia by providing every child with the opportunity to participate in a sports-based youth development program.

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative has selected the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) at Temple University to assist with the implementation of its Game On Philly! program. STHM joins the School District of Philadelphia and Temple’s College of Public Health as the supporting organizations behind the program.

School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management to Help Launch Game On Philly!Game On Philly! is funded through a Youth Engagement in Sports (YES) grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, particularly the Office of Women’s Health. The three-year program aims to increase youth sports participation while encouraging better nutritional choices for 6th to 8th graders in Philadelphia by providing comprehensive programs in sports-based youth development and nutritional workshops at select middle schools.

STHM will be responsible for developing and delivering comprehensive coach education for all adults working with youth participants through Game On Philly! The school will also oversee the dissemination of the program and serve as a repository for ensuring all coaches have required clearances and have completed supplemental online coach education requirements.

”We know that sports are uniquely positioned to support kids both physically and mentally, so we’re excited to bring that opportunity to students, who do not currently have access to sports in their schools. We believe the benefits of this program will be immense for our participants,” says Beth Devine, executive director of the Collaborative.

Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of the Sport Industry Research Center Gareth Jones and Associate Professor and Academic Director of the Master of Science in Sport Business Amy Giddings will serve as STHM’s principal investigators.

Jones has worked with the Collaborative on research projects before. His current research focuses on how sport and recreation influences the cognitive, social and physical development of youth and communities, making him an ideal person to help lead the project.

Giddings works with community organizations assisting with coach development in under-resourced communities, which is the target demographic of Game On Philly!

Giddings will design the coach development for the program. She’s no stranger to coaching strategies, as she founded the Philadelphia Coaches Conference, which brings together coaches at the youth, scholastic, collegiate and professional levels to share their knowledge with one another. She also designed the recently-launched non-credit Certificate in Sport Leadership-coaching track, which is now available through STHM.

“Sport has the potential to positively impact youth in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, we do not have a good system for educating the adults working in youth sports, and in particular, the nuances of coaching in an urban environment,” Giddings said. “We require significant training for teachers but very little training for coaches, who spend countless hours a day with our children. Trained coaches are better prepared to provide a higher-quality experience for urban youth.”

The program’s two main initiatives to increase youth sports participation revolve around STHM’s sport leadership education for coaches as well as health-based education led by the College of Public Health’s Center for Obesity Research and Education.

“We are looking to not only get kids physically active, but how we can use sport as a context to understand things like physical literacy and health as a concept of nutrition,” said Jones.

Game On Philly! will initially lead to a small set of schools receiving funding, coaches and programs, and it will expand from there. By 2023, STHM and the Collaborative plan to provide every child from 4th to 8th grade with at least one in-school or out-of-school sports-based youth development program.

With help from stakeholders across the City of Philadelphia, including six major sports teams, the Collaborative completed a nine-month task force on sports-based youth development, which serves as the impetus behind Game On Philly!

The Task Force found that 83.2% of youth in Philadelphia did not meet physical activity guidelines: being active for 60 minutes or more every day. This was significantly higher than the national rate of 73.9%.The research also revealed that Philadelphia youth have less access to sports teams, with 53% noting that they did not play on at least one sports team compared to a national rate of 45.7%.

That’s what makes Game On Philly! and its mission so important.

“They’re not just going to go in there and teach kids how to play soccer or basketball,” said Jones. “It’s going to be about how to leverage that sports context to promote positive youth development.”

About the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management

Established in 1998, the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) at Temple University has a distinguished tradition preparing leaders in the sport, recreation, tourism and hospitality industries.

Thoroughly committed to providing student-centered education and professional development relevant to today’s thriving sport, tourism and hospitality industry — STHM integrates applicable, real-world experience into the curriculum and classroom through its global network of industry partners and well-connected alumni network. Our award-winning faculty and cutting-edge research institutes engage in pioneering research, informing business practices and providing students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in these fast-growing industries.

The School offers undergraduate degree programs in sport and recreation management and tourism and hospitality management; traditional graduate degree programs in sport business, and hospitality management; and two online graduate degree programs in executive sport business and travel and tourism. STHM also offers a PhD program in business administration with a concentration in tourism and sport.