InSideOut Initiative Kicks Off In Missouri

On November 18, in partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs, Missouri State High School Activities Association and the NFL Foundation, educational and athletic leaders from across the region gathered virtually to build consensus on reclaiming the educational purpose of sports and set the stage for implementation of the InSideOut Initiative in Missouri.

As the COVID-19 pandemic introduces a significant disruption to normal day-to-day life for young people, high school athletics programs have a unique role to play in contributing to a sense of belonging and community that is so desperately needed. 

School systems all over the country are diligently working to support the academic, social, emotional and character development of students. Yet historically, state, district, and school leaders uniformly dismiss interscholastic athletics as a viable tool to address this need. The InSideOut Initiative provides training for educational leaders, athletic administrators, coaches, and community-stakeholders and supports schools in redefining and reframing the value of sports as a platform to develop the human potential of students. 

“The Missouri State High School Activities Association is honored to work with the World Champion Kansas City Chiefs, Joe Ehrmann, Jody Redman, and the InSideOut Initiative,” said Dr. Kerwin Urhahn, MSHSAA Executive Director. “Returning the focus on the purpose of high school sports and activities to preparing students for life after high school through the avenue of sports and activities will have a tremendous effect on the social-emotional and character development of students across Missouri.  As we continue to deal with the many challenges before us, this initiative is timely and critical at this point in our society.”

Since its inception in 2015, the InSideOut Initiative has impacted nearly 4 million student-athletes across 15 states—connecting them to transformational coaches in a nurturing community. The Initiative is uniquely innovative in that it is the first systems-level intervention to prioritize social-emotional and character development in high school athletics.

“The Kansas City Chiefs are thrilled to support the launch of the InSideOut Initiative across the state of Missouri,” Chiefs Director of Community Engagement Gary Spani said. “Social-emotional and character development is a critical approach to ensuring young athletes develop the important life skills that will stay with them long after organized sports are done – empathy, determination, courage, self-esteem, dignity and more. We’re honored to work alongside the Missouri State High School Activities Association to roll this unique program out to coaches and young athletes around Missouri and look-forward to helping shape important life experiences for them.”

For sports to provide students with the human growth and moral development opportunities, school communities must redefine and reframe the educational value of participation in athletics. Missouri is committed to doing this work, starting now.