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

In the Arena’s mission is to change the trajectories of the lives of American youths by deploying in their communities today’s elite athletes, who teach them how to make habits of self-inquiry, accountability, leadership and achievement.

In the Arena constituents, including Arena Athletes, Board Members, supporters, staff and program participants, are committed to the following guiding principles:

Everybody is a role model.
Unlike Charles Barkley, we believe everybody is a role model, especially those who don a uniform and step into the arena of competition. Now we’d never make the case that everyone is a positive role model, of course; sometimes we learn more from anti-heroes than we do from heroes. But In the Arena holds steadfastly to the belief that we all learn by observing and modeling the behavior we see on display. Accordingly, it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to set the best possible examples as we move through our lives.

Character and integrity are paramount and teachable traits.
Character and integrity are at the core of In the Arena’s ethos and inform every stage of our policy, strategy and tactics. Indeed, we’ve placed these traits at the cornerstone of our programming; if no other skill is inculcated in Arena program participants but an increased awareness of the importance of these ideas in action, then we will be running a verifiably successful organization.

Excellence is worth pursuing.
We screen for a commitment to excellence at every level of In the Arena: we look for it in Arena Athletes; we seek it in Board Members; we prize it in contributors; we value it in our staff and we encourage it in our program participants.

Civic engagement is a joy and a necessity.
In the Arena aims to create and perpetuate an understanding of the role of the individual in the overall health of the whole by underscoring the broad and immeasurably positive impact of civic engagement on both the individual and the community. As Teddy Roosevelt suggests in his now-famous speech, “Citizenship in a Republic”: “The average citizen must be a good citizen if our republics are to succeed.”

Our mission statement coupled with our guiding principles establish the foundation of In the Arena and function as touchstones for In the Arena as it moves forward:

We harness the power of the elite athlete to magnetize the attention of American youth, and through methodical anchoring of the highest-caliber role models in American communities, we work to inculcate in today’s youth a development of character and integrity, a thirst for excellence and a pervasive appreciation for the merits of civic engagement.
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