GearSwap Helping to bridge the participation gap

Project play was launched in 2013 by the Sports & Society Program with their main goal to provide sport opportunities for children. This is because participation in youth sports has dramatically decreased in recent years. In 2008, 44.5% of children played team sports regularly. Fast forward to 2013 and we are down to 40%. This is an extremely troubling truth as this group represents the youth of tomorrow. Lack of participation in physical activity leads to an exceptional increase in childhood obesity, an epidemic that continues through adulthood. Therefore, we took it upon ourselves to discover what exactly was causing the decline. Our research led us to the conclusion that the financial burden of sports on parents was the main reason for low participation rates. How do we combat such a widespread issue?

First we considered expanding the "skills pyramid" as an extremely viable solution to financial responsibility. If the bottom tier of the pyramid is expanded, cheaper sports options will become available to young athletes and their parents. This is because the first tier is devoted entirely to recreational league sports; registration for these leagues range from free-$20. This is a more workable number than travel league sports which can run up a tab of hundreds of dollars.

However, we didn't see an expansion of the pyramid being a lasting or impactful solution. Thus we developed GearSwap.

GearSwap is a nonprofit organization solely dedicated to providing a trading hub for sports equipment. Why is this more impactful than a rec league expansion?

Consider a youth baseball bat. The minimum price is around $30. The maximum price? Upwards of $300. Parents could buy the $30 bat, pay a $10 registration fee, and be content with the $40 total for one baseball season. Now consider that most parents expect their children to stick with a sport for multiple seasons. So instead they buy the $70 bat. And the $50 cleats. And the $45 glove. And the $40 bat bag. The list goes on and on until now, all of a sudden, the parents have spent $200+ on equipment....plus a $10 registration fee; and that's just for one child. Why is this relevant?

Imagine a place where that same bat, glove, bag, and pair of cleats costs a total of $50. Next, imagine a place where that same equipment is FREE. See what we did there?

That's right. Free equipment. How though? Remember that trading hub we were talking about? That's how. A parent walks into GearSwap needing headgear to replace last winter's basketball. She has the basketball appraised by a certified employee and five minutes later she's leaving with the headgear she needed and another parent is walking in looking for a basketball to replace a baseball bat.

GearSwap facilitates an ongoing trading circle for anyone in need of sports equipment. A person can come in with one thing and trade it for a different thing for free; or an item can be bought for a very discounted price. Donations are always accepted and encouraged no matter what sport the equipment comes from.

The cuts that GearSwap could make in spending are monumental in the youth sports world. Instead of spending $671/year in equipment, parents could spend $671/entire youth sport career in equipment.

The possibilities for expansion are endless. As a nonprofit, GearSwap would be welcomed into communities. We hope to show that we are for the community, all of our profits will go directly into providing equipment and donations to local programs.

Lastly, GearSwap ventures to set itself apart from other thrift stores such as PlayItAgain and Goodwill. PlayItAgain only takes in equipment that they expect to sell; this means the selection is limited to the most popular sports like football, soccer, and baseball. Additionally, Goodwill is a multifunctional thrift store; they accept anything and everything. This means there's no telling what someone will find in the way of sports, IF they could find anything at all. This is why GearSwap can make a difference. We accept all equipment all the time, not just when the incoming equipment syncs with the current season. The only purpose GearSwap serves is to provide financial relief to the youth sports community. Our goals will have been met when we've expanded on a national level and can positively impact communities everywhere.

Created By
Group 14
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Credits:

Created with images by TonnyNijkrake - "football football boots shoe" • anais_anais29 - "tennis ball sport" • RemazteredStudio - "sport treadmill tor" • Sam Howzit - "Wrigley Field Marquee" • StrategicWebDesign_Net - "hockey puck hockey pucks" • anovva - "active athlete background"

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