Connecting American youth and today’s athletes to cultivate character and community

Think of In the Arena as a market maker in a human capital market that connects donors, elite athletes and the American youth who are the Arena program participants and our organization’s raisons d’etre. But far more than simply providing the infrastructure for these three groups to interrelate, In the Arena is bent on guaranteeing that the potential and skill set, and thus the value, of each participant is optimized.

  • For American youth, this means providing them equal access to the highest-caliber role models, who encourage them to consider, explore and pursue the very best versions of themselves.
  • For Arena Athletes, this means creating opportunities to deploy the full freight of their valuable skill sets as mentors and community leaders, a process that necessarily balances their focused athletic pursuits with a broader sense of purpose.
  • For Arena contributors, this means allocating efficiently the capital that In the Arena stewards and putting it to work in a manner that effects the maximum change in the maximum number of people for the minimum cost.

In the Arena seeks to reduce capital market inefficiencies respecting youth development and elite athlete support by giving today’s aspiring Olympians the resources needed to spend their non-training and -competition hours engaged in structured and relevant community service with American 18-and-unders. We pursue this aim by carefully assembling a roster of elite athletes and facilitating, managing and evaluating each athlete’s community service project. All Arena programs target specific work with community youth and undertake it just about anywhere today’s 18-and-unders gather: in classrooms, in gymnasiums, on sports fields, in community and recreation centers, in church groups, in summer camps, you name it. Arena programs can be as short as three days or as long as a year, but whatever the duration, each program must deliver results where the inculcation of skills of self-inquiry, accountability, leadership and achievement in program participants is concerned.

In order to qualify for appointment to In the Arena’s roster, Arena Athletes must undergo a rigorous application process that includes submitting an application that asks for personal, academic, athletic and civic background information; providing sport and non-sport references, undergraduate transcripts and recent tax forms; participating in a face-to-face interview; being fingerprinted and background checked in most states; and, of course, researching and designing a community service project that is in keeping with the highest and best aims of In the Arena. In addition to screening for athletic talent and financial need, In the Arena filters for those athletes who demonstrate an ability to act as first-rate role models in their communities.

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