The Genesis: In many ways, the Lawrence Sports Leadership Academy, launched in 2016, was the genesis of this collaborative youth sports movement in Lawrence. The persistent efforts of LSA founders, Everyone’s A Player, Beyond Soccer, together with dozens of city sports leaders* to develop a first-of-its-kind, multi-sport leadership experience, served as the launching pad for collective action and resource sharing to expand impact.
It opened up a network for communicating and sharing strategies to determine ways to better connect athletes to sports and opportunities beyond regular sports training, like college counseling, leadership development, and other enrichment support. Most glaringly, the groups started to share more about their collective challenges related to rising equipment, insurance, and facility costs necessary for their organizations and leagues running. Further, despite an incredible passion for their mission work, limited organizational infrastructure affected their ability to effectively reach kids, never mind having the capacity to offer next-level support and mentorship, which is crucial for their long-term success in school, sports, career and life.