Youth Sports in Los Angeles thrive with LA28’s $160m commitment
Kids across Los Angeles are enjoying more opportunities to play sports at low to no cost thanks to the LA28 Games. In 2022, 90,000 kids enrolled in LA28-sponsored PlayLA programming delivered by the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Recreation and Parks.
More than one third of participants are between the ages of 7-10 with just over half (55 percent) self-identifying as boys and 45 percent self-identifying as girls.
Through the LA28 Games and the International Olympic Committee’s pledge of $160M to fund youth sports, PlayLA provides affordable and accessible programming to kids of all abilities throughout Los Angeles. Kids can participate in a variety of Olympic and adaptive sports from aquatics to track, tennis, judo, golf, para surfing, wheelchair tennis, adaptive skateboarding, sitting volleyball and more.
Although the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games are a few years away, PlayLA is already making an impact on the next generation. Manny, a 12-year-old USA Judo Junior Olympic Championships Bronze Medalist, found his passion for judo through PlayLA. Manny’s parents and sensei said his involvement with PlayLA’s judo program taught him to be more focused and disciplined and instilled a sense of confidence that carries over to other aspects of his life.
PlayLA expanded their programming in the ’22-’23 school year to include adaptive sports such as para swim, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball, visually impaired and blind soccer, para equestrian, sitting volleyball, adaptive skateboarding and para surfing. This past September, LA28 was excited to attend PlayLA’s para surfing program, a para surf clinic for 20 young adaptive athletes in partnership with the Challenged Athletes Foundation at Venice Beach.
The LA28 Games began funding SwimLA pilot programs in 2018-2019 before officially launching PlayLA in November 2021 as a new initiative by the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Recreation and Parks and the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games. LA28’s investment marks the single largest commitment to youth sport development in California’s history.
In their latest efforts, LA28 approved funding to extend hours for more classes and programs and cover the cost of transportation for kids and National Governing Body (NGB) membership fees for PlayLA kids to compete in NGB-sanctioned competitions and events.
The LA28 Games, in collaboration with the City of Los Angeles, will continue to create more access for kids across LA to participate in youth sports in the coming years, teaching them values and skills they will carry with them for life.
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