Weather or Not: Kids Should Be Playing

February 11, 2024
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In years past, our newsletters at 2-4-1 have often been a beacon of summer anticipation, filled with plans and dreams of the sunny days ahead. Certainly, we are still extremely excited about the way things are shaping up for Summer 2024, which will be by far our busiest ever.  But, as 2-4-1 has evolved, we’ve embraced a year-round approach to our mission, proudly extending our reach into schools and communities globally, no matter the season.

One of the most exciting endeavors we’ve embarked on this year is the Winter Carnival—a testament to our commitment to outdoor play in every season. Mary Crean, from our team recently highlighted the myriad benefits of outdoor play in a post that has resonated with many in our community. But as I reflect on the image of children in Connecticut playing in below-freezing temperatures, with snow blanketing the ground, I’m filled with a mix of pride and humility. It’s a vivid reminder of the resilience and joy inherent in play, regardless of the weather. But, as many of you know, three schools in Kitwe, Zambia, will be taking the training we provided in December and this week will be launching their own 2-4-1 programs. This expansion is a powerful illustration of our core belief: play is universal. By stepping away from screens and engaging in playful, physical interactions, children benefit immensely—both mentally and physically. Our efforts in Zambia, much like those in Connecticut, underscore the vital link between social-emotional learning (SEL) and sport.

At top, children play in front of the Hartford, CT capital. Below, children play in a school yard in Kitwe, Zambia. Both demonstrating the joy of outdoor play, the 2-4-1 way!

In just two weeks, we’ll welcome three new Hartford Public Schools to our family, joining the five others that have already benefited from our before and after-school programming. These programs are not just about sports; they’re about empowering children. By offering them a voice and a choice in the activities they pursue, we’re not only fostering a love for physical activity but also teaching them valuable leadership skills. These skills are crucial for creating sustainable skills that can thrive, even in the absence of adult supervision.

As we continue to grow and evolve, our message remains clear: the importance of play cannot be overstated. It’s a universal language that transcends borders, climates, and cultures. Through our programs, we’re helping children and communities understand that play is not just about physical health but is also critical for social and emotional development.

We have so much more to share with you about our journey and the impact we’re making. Please, read on. The stories of joy, resilience, and community that have emerged from our programs are both inspiring and a call to action. Together, we’re not just changing the way children play; we’re changing the way they live and interact with the world around them.

Stay tuned for more updates, stories, and insights from 2-4-1. Whether it’s under the sun or amidst the snowflakes, we’re making play a priority, one community at a time.

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About Steve Boyle

Steve Boyle is a visionary leader and advocate for youth sports and physical literacy. As the Executive Director of 2-4-1 CARE, Inc. and Co-Founder/Director of 2-4-1 Sports, Steve stands at the forefront of the movement to transform the youth sports paradigm. His forward-thinking anti-specialization approach has garnered acclaim from esteemed institutions like the Aspen Institute. At the helm of 2-4-1, Steve has skillfully guided its expansion from its flagship location in West Hartford, Connecticut, to a range of locations across the U.S., Canada, and Africa. His leadership has not only scaled the program but also redefined the standards of youth sports Beyond the scope of 2-4-1 Sports, Steve’s influence extended to developing the National Association of Physical Literacy, where his insights as Advisory Board Chair were pivotal. His tenure as Global Lead on Physical Literacy and Athletics for Whittle School & Studios marked a significant contribution to the global community, shaping the athletic and physical education frameworks across campuses in Shenzhen and Washington, D.C. Steve is equally known for merging his expertise in counseling with his coaching acumen to create the TOP Self social-emotional learning platform. This innovative endeavor leverages sports to impart essential social-emotional learning skills, cementing Steve’s status as a national authority in physical literacy development.

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