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Welcome to the Way of Champions Podcast hosted by John O'Sullivan and brought to you by Changing The Game Project.


Each week we connect you with the top minds in sport, coaching, leadership, and creating championship programs so you can take your athletes and teams to the next level.

Oct 29, 2018

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?


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


Twitter: @NBaldwin75

Appleton Facebook Page:

Appleton Instagram: @Appleton_Park_Rec



Nate Baldwin has been a Recreation Programmer for the City of Appleton Parks & Recreation department since 2014, and has 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 2008.  You can follow Nate on Twitter under the handle @nbaldwin75.


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