How to Coach Kids and the National Recreation and Park Association Join Effort to Train 1 Million Coaches in Youth Development

Mcc Logo 1 Susan Crown Exchange

CHICAGO, April 9, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and How to Coach Kids (HTCK) co-developed by Nike and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) have officially joined forces with the Million Coaches Challenge, a multi-partner movement supported by the Susan Crown Exchange. Both organizations have joined in the commitment to train one million coaches in positive youth development techniques by 2025. 

The Million Coaches Challenge is supported by the Susan Crown Exchange, which began funding a cohort of organizations in 2021 to provide critical training to coaches across the country. This initiative aims to bridge the gap in coach training, ensuring that coaches are equipped with the necessary tools to promote positive youth development.

Despite the pivotal role coaches play in fostering youth development, many feel unsupported due to barriers such as cost, time constraints, and a lack of resources. To address this challenge, the Million Coaches Challenge seeks to empower coaches with the skills and knowledge needed to help young athletes thrive on and off the field.

Inspired by the Aspen Institute's Project Play and co-developed by Nike and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, How to Coach Kids is a free, online course designed to equip coaches with fundamental coaching skills. HTCK focuses on creating safe, fun and inclusive experiences for young athletes of all abilities, with a companion course specifically tailored to coaching girls.

Matt Geschke, Nike's Senior Director of Social & Community Impact for the Americas, explains: "As a brand founded by a coach and an athlete, we believe in the game-changing role that a coach can play in a kids' life. By joining the Million Coaches Challenge through How to Coach Kids, we're proud to reaffirm our commitment to equipping coaches with the tools they need to create inclusive and supportive environments where all kids can thrive in sport."

Additionally, NRPA is partnering with leading national training providers to offer high-quality training programs focused on social and emotional learning (SEL) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Through an equity-based grantmaking model, NRPA will award training opportunities to 30 park and recreation agencies in 2024, providing essential skills to promote relationship building, leadership, cultural humility, and more. Training will be provided through Million Coaches Challenge partners, including the Center for Healing and Justice Through Sport, How to Coach Kids, Positive Coaching Alliance, and United States Soccer Foundation.

"NRPA recognizes the pivotal role that parks and recreation agencies play in fostering community health and well-being. This partnership will allow us to further leverage our expertise and resources to ensure that coaches have access to high-quality training programs that promote social and emotional learning and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Through initiatives like this, we are empowering coaches to create positive and inclusive experiences for young athletes, fostering resilience, leadership, and a sense of belonging."

The addition of these national organizations represents a bold step towards creating a more inclusive and empowering environment for young athletes across the nation and reaching the goal of training 1 Million Coaches by 2025.

"We are thrilled to welcome How to Coach Kids, co-developed by Nike and the USOPC, and the National Recreation and Park Association as partners in the Million Coaches Challenge. Their commitment to coach training aligns perfectly with our mission to empower coaches with the skills and knowledge they need to positively impact the lives of young athletes," shared Haviland Rummel, Executive Director of the Susan Crown Exchange. "By joining forces, we are not only expanding the reach of the challenge but also amplifying its impact and ensuring that coaches across the country have the resources and support they need to foster holistic youth development."

For more information about the Million Coaches Challenge and its partners, please visit https://www.millioncoaches.org.

About The Million Coaches Challenge

We have embarked on a journey to grow a generation of coaches trained in youth development. Coach training is essential to creating quality sports experiences and we envision a world in which all young athletes, regardless of their family's income, their gender, their race, or their ability status, have access to coaches who are well-versed in youth development and skill-building techniques that help kids succeed on and off the field. Our first step: train one million coaches. millioncoaches.org.

About National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit nrpa.org.

About How to Coach Kids

Inspired by the Aspen Institute's Project Play and co-developed by Nike and U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, How to Coach Kids (HTCK) is a free, 30-minute online course about the fundamentals of coaching kids. HTCK brings together input from experts in youth sports and coaching, as well as youth physical, social and emotional development, with the goal of giving youth coaches simple tips to create safe, fun practices and game-day experiences that connect kids of all abilities and ages with the joy of playing a sport. A companion 20-minute course called Coaching Girls focuses on how coaches can build an environment that helps girls feel seen and that they belong in sport. howtocoachkids.org. 

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