LiFESports Youth Collaborative

The LiFEsports Youth Collaborative connects and supports organizations in Central Ohio that use sport broadly defined to benefit young people today. The Collaborative is one arm of Ohio State University’s (OSU) Learning in Fitness and Sport (LiFE) Sports, a university-wide Initiative focused on enhancing the quality of youth development, sport, and recreational programs for youth, particularly those from vulnerable circumstances.  The specific focus of the LiFEsports Youth Collaborative is to:  Increase the number and quality of sport and recreational programs in Central Ohio that are designed to promote positive youth development, especially among youth who need them most. This is done as collaboration is promoted among Central Ohio youth serving organizations work together to strengthen the programs they provide to children and youth.

The LiFEsports Youth Collaborative originated in 2012 as a community council comprised of leaders from different non-profit agencies in Central Ohio, ones who were charged with guiding the overall OSU LiFEsports Initiative. Over time, priorities have evolved and council members were interested in shared networking opportunities, evaluation supports, and research on evidence-based practices. Current Collaborative members are listed on the LiFEsports Collaborative website and participate in various Collaborative activities, partnerships, seminars, and decision-making processes. Members represent multiple organizations, such as the OSU Department of Athletics, OSU Department of Recreational Sports, YMCA of Central Ohio, Gladden Community House, Columbus City Schools, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus, the Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association (OCCCRA), After-School All-Stars Ohio, the Mentoring Center of Ohio, the United Way of Central Ohio, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio,  and Youth to Youth International.

Collaborative Activities

Seminars and Networking Meetings will be held bi-annually, are open to the public, and include panel discussions and networking opportunities related to youth sports programming. The Seminars are designed to increase awareness and provide skills and knowledge that are immediately applicable to the design and implementation of youth sports programs. They also involve activities design to develop and nurture relationships among participants, fostering a supportive community of professionals that share and network during seminars and beyond.


The Collaborative Website will describe the LiFEsports Collaborative’s purpose, history, priorities, members, and partners. The site also will include information about upcoming seminars and meetings, as well as include presentations or minutes from previous sessions. The site also will house links to various resources elsewhere that pertain to evidence-based practices in youth development, sport, and recreational programming for children and youth.


Guest Presentations will be hosted periodically to share knowledge, evidence-based practices, innovative coaching and youth work strategies, evaluation resources, and other topics based on interest and need. Guests will include national leaders in research and practice, as well as local coaches, teachers, physicians, and others with expertise in relevant areas.

Administration & Infrastructure

The LiFEsports Youth Collaborative is administered by the OSU LiFEsports Initiative. To become a member, individuals and agencies must 1) manage and/or implement youth sports and related programs, 2) value the role of sports and related programs in positive youth development; 3) serve children and youth in Central Ohio; and 4) have a mission that supports the whole development of a child.

More Information

Additional information about the LiFEsports Youth Collaborative may be found linked to the LiFEsports website:  For other inquiries, please email Dr. Dawn Anderson-Butcher, Executive Director of Teaching, Learning, and Research for the OSU LiFEsports Initiative.

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