InSideOut Initiative Launches in Virginia

Virginia Educational and Athletic Leaders Team Up to Transform the “Win-at-all-Costs” Sports Culture

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – WASHINGTON, D.C. – The InSideOut Initiative—a nonprofit aimed at transforming the “win-at-all-costs” sports culture in communities across the country—launches Monday in Virginia, in partnership with the Washington Football Team Charitable Foundation, Virginia High School League, and the NFL Foundation.

Sports engage millions of individuals, families, and communities in a shared experience. Three out of four American families with school-aged children will have at least one child play an organized sport, which accounts for approximately 45 million American children.

However, youth sports has evolved into a $15 billion industry that promotes early specialization, private one-on-one coaching, multi-team layered participation and a significant financial and emotional investment by parents. Less than 3% of high school athletes will go on to play college athletics and only a fraction of those—less than 1%—will ever play professionally. If the value of youth sports comes solely from winning, then millions of kids lose out on the potential for a life-changing human growth experience. 

“For sports to provide students with human growth opportunities and moral development, we must move beyond defining success by the scoreboard and create space in the culture for a higher purpose,” says InSideOut Initiative co-founder, Jody Redman. “The InSideOut Initiative provides a blueprint for systemic change—and guides communities into reframing the purpose of sports, and building a system that focuses on the development of the educational, social and emotional well-being of each student-athlete. We are thrilled to be kicking off with the VHSL and Washington Football Team on this work, and look forward to continued partnership in Virginia.”

Powered by the NFL Foundation and piloted in Colorado and Texas in 2015, the InSideOut Initiative catalyzes partnerships with educational leaders, state athletic associations and local NFL teams to address the brokenness of the sports culture and engages stakeholders in strategic conversations to re-define the role of interscholastic sports in the lives of students and communities.

Virginia is the next state to launch the Initiative, thanks to comprehensive funding from the National Football League Foundation. The VHSL is currently gathering leaders from across the region’s educational organizations to discuss the Initiative and plan for its implementation, in partnership with the VASS, VSBA, VASSP, VIAAA and VASS.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with InSideOut and the Washington Football Team to implement the InSideOut Initiative. Having the support of the Virginia School Board Association, the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, and the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals, clearly demonstrates the value Virginia High School League member schools place on the lessons and life skills that education-based athletics provide to our over 190,000 participants,” said John W. “Billy” Haun, executive director of the Virginia High School League. “We look forward to the benefits our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and school communities will receive from this program.”

For sports to provide students with the human growth and moral development opportunities they deserve, we must move beyond defining success by the scoreboard and create space in the culture for a higher purpose. Virginia is committed to creating that space, starting now.

ABOUT THE VIRGINIA HIGH SCHOOL LEAGUE: The Virginia High School League is an alliance of Virginia’s public and approved non-boarding, non-public high schools that promotes education, leadership, sportsmanship, character and citizenship for students by establishing and maintaining high standards for school activities and competitions.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM CHARITABLE FOUNDATION: The Washington Football Team Charitable Foundation is ever-present in the community, constantly working to achieve our mission to make a positive and measurable impact in the lives of children that need it most. Since Washington Football Team owners Dan and Tanya Snyder created the Washington Football Team Charitable Foundation in 2000, we have given back more than $26M to the community and currently provide support and services to more than 178,000 individuals (mostly children) annually, focusing on supporting education, children’s health and wellness and preparing them for their future.