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Maximizing youth experiences in community sport programs is critical, particularly for vulnerable and/or marginalized youth who may have limited access and opportunity to these experiences. Using second-order latent growth modeling, this study explores the impact of a community sport program, the LiFE Sports Camp, on the development of social and sport skills among vulnerable youth. The importance of a sense of belonging as a key mechanism that contributes to youth outcomes also is examined. The findings of this research point to the value of community sport that is strategically designed to promote both sport and social outcomes in youth, as well as highlights the role of belonging in these contexts. Implications for sports management leaders and practitioners are discussed.
Anderson-Butcher is with the College of Social Work, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Riley is with the College of Social Work, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Amorose is with the Department of Kinesiology and Recreation, Illinois State University, Normal, IL. Iachini is with the College of Social Work, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Wade-Mdivanian is with the College of Social Work, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.