Across the board, youth sports participation rates are dropping and coach retention is extremely low, yet Appleton recreation is seeing an average of 60% increase in participation across its four biggest sports and coach retention is 90%. What are they doing differently?

Enjoy the Show!


Show Notes

1:00 Nate’s backstory

12:30 If we are in it for the benefit of the kids, most solutions are obvious

16:00 Nate explains how the cultural change came out of the consistent core values

23:00 Appleton’s Core Value #1: Inclusion

30:00 Core Value #2: Intentional Skill Development

39:00 Core Value #3: Family Balance

44:15 Core Value #4: Promoting Lifelong Enjoyment of Sport

56:00 The data behind Appleton’s success


Getting in Touch

Email: [email protected].

Twitter: @NBaldwin75



Nate Baldwin was the Recreation Programmer for the City of Appleton Parks & Recreation department from 2014-2020, and helped lead the revitalization of the department’s youth sports program.  By committing to a program philosophy that highlights inclusion, skill development and lifelong enjoyment of sports amongst its core values, APRD youth sports programs have grown by an astonishing 60% since 2014, despite a 10 year national trend of participation decline.  In October 2018, the APRD youth sports program was nationally recognized as an inaugural Project Play Champion by the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program.  Prior to joining APRD and committing his energy to youth sports, Nate created and managed an adult recreation business in Denver, CO called Western Alternative Sports Association, which in 10 years, went from startup to one of the largest independent recreation providers in the state.  Nate co-hosts a monthly segment on WHBY radio in Appleton / Green Bay, WI, discussing local and national youth sports topics, and his work has been featured nationally by John O’Sullivan’s “Changing the Game Project” in 2018, by the Discovery Channel’s “Wreckreation Nation” in 2009, and by the Sports Business Journal in 2018.  You can follow Nate on Twitter under the handle @nbaldwin75.



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Hosted by John O’Sullivan. Produced by Coach Reed Maltbie


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Tagged under: Coaching, core values, culture