THE WHITE HOUSE (Gray DC) -- Across the country, the number of kids playing team sports is dropping, but the White House wants to change that. Spearheading the effort is presidential adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump.
In an exclusive interview with Gray Television Washington Bureau Chief Jacqueline Policastro, Trump said she was inspired after attending the Winter Olympics. Now, she’s ready to help America’s kids get the competition started.
"It's incredibly important to me. It's part of our Working Family Agenda at the White House," said Trump. "In 2008, 45 percent of all students between the ages of six and 12 participated in athletics. Now, that's down to 37 percent," she continued. "We want to change that."
Trump hosted more than 250 kids on the White House South Lawn Wednesday. Members of the President's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition were on hand to motivate them to play more sports. Among them -- former professional athletes like baseball player Johnny Damon, football Hall-of-Famer Herschel Walker, and beach volleyball Olympic gold-medalist Misty May-Treanor.
Our cameras rolled as May-Treanor spoke to a Pennsylvania high school volleyball team. She told them, "First off, you just need to play. Second, trust in each other, respect each other. And then, you have to outwork your opponent.”
Trump said kids who play sports are more likely to stay out of trouble, graduate from high school, and earn higher wages. But, by the age of 14, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys.
“A lot of times, girls are the ones not given the opportunity, because maybe they don’t have the athletic talent, or maybe they don’t have the sport within their community that they excel at," said Trump. "So, there is just not an option available to them, or the scholarship is less than an obvious outcome for them.”
As the kids compete in the president’s backyard, his team is working on a plan to make playing more sports possible in communities across the country. There are a still a lot of details to work out, and Trump tells us, that will all be up to the Council.