West Hartford’s 2-4-1 Sports Chosen as National Model

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West Hartford’s multi-sport camp will be spotlighted at the Project Play Summit in Washington, DC.

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By Ronni Newton

Steve Boyle is unable to contain his excitement about the summit that he has been invited to participate in later this month in Washington, DC, an event that includes representatives of USA Hockey, Special Olympics, and other national organizations.

Boyle, the founder and director of West Hartford-based multi-sport camp 2-4-1 Sports, said, “I feel like we’re going to be breathing rarified air. I’m both proud and excited about the possibility of spreading the word of what we stand for to the national – and international – audience.”

The Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization which Boyle said is the “largest public policy non-profit in the world,” has chosen 2-4-1 Sports as “a national model that encourages all children to play multiple sports to help develop untapped athletic and leadership abilities and inspire a lifetime of healthy, physical activity,” Boyle said.

High profile figures in the world of sports as well as others who are able to “reshape access to quality sport activity” will convene at the Aspen Insitute’s ProjectPlay Summit at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Aspen Institute has already engaged with “thought leaders” who have shared their “ideas on how to give every child access to an early, positive experience in sports,” and those opportunites were outlined in the organization’s recently-issued report, Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game. The summit will help reinforce that message and provide guidelines for exploring and acting on the report’s recommendations for reimagining youth sports.

Boyle’s panel, “Encourage Sports Sampling,” will also include David Esquith, director of the Office of Safe and Healthy Students, U.S. Department of Education; Tim Morehouse, Olympic silver medalist and founder of Fencing in Schools; and Mary Wittenberg, CEO of New York Road Runners. Participants on other panels include former NBA player Jason Collins, U.S. Tennis Assocation President Katrina Adams, USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean, and 2014 Little League World Series pitching sensation Mo’ne Davis. Click here for the complete summit agenda.

“I’m excited just to be rubbing shoulders and networking with these people,” Boyle said.

The goal of the summit, Boyle said, is to “share ideas and experiences that will help kids become active and well-invloved and experience sports in a more positive way across the country.”

That has always been a primary mission of 2-4-1 Sports, which uses the tagline “Life’s 2 Short 4 Just 1 Sport.” Boyle and his wife Kerry, who are both experienced coaches and former Division 1 college athletes, firmly believe that children should be exposed to multiple, as well as unstructured, sports activities. Boyle said that the impetus for starting the 2-4-1 Sports camp, in which children are exposed to as many as 10 different sports a week, was a local soccer coach who wanted their then 9-year-old daughter to play only soccer. They refused, and she now plays Division I college lacrosse, Boyle said.

While in Washington for the summit, Boyle said that he will also be participating in a round table with 20 “key players” who plan to present Congress with a plan for including phyical fitness as part of the common core.

Boyle also said that 2-4-1 Sports is expanding, both locally, nationally, and internationally. He has a program in the works in Monroe, CT, is close to finalizing one in another state, and is also working on a curriculum for a youth soccer program in Australia.

In West Hartford, Boyle is also partnering with Growing Great Schools to demo “brain breaks” for elementary school students. They have filmed a variety of “cross body” exercises in which K-5th grade students participate as a break from academic activities. “Brain breaks are not a new concept, but the way we do them are,” Boyle said. The filmed breaks are – appropriately – 2:41 minutes long, and all end with yoga poses and deep breathing.

“We’re hoping to get data from the demos, and expand them around the nation,” Boyle said.

Boyle is also polishing up his social media skills. “I’ll update my social network as much as possible while I’m in Washington, so follow along,” he said. 2-4-1 Sports can be found on Twitter (@241Sports) and Facebook.

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