Youth sports — specifically the club, travel and tournament industry — have been described as a “broken marketplace.” So what’s being done about it? And how do parents, who are the primary consumers, make smart decisions?

Here is a look at key questions parents and others may have:

What’s happening in Milwaukee to address the youth sports economic divide? 

Several organizations are working to overcome these inequities. Many use athletics as a way for kids to develop life skills such as discipline, focus and responsibility. 

America Scores Milwaukee, for example, pairs soccer training with creative writing. Milwaukee Rowing Club’s STEM to Stern program partners with Milwaukee School of Engineering to bring STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education to young rowers. 

And Cream Skills teaches young athletes basketball and entrepreneurship skills.

There’s also City on the Floor, a league created to give Milwaukee Public Schools students a chance to play basketball after their season was canceled due to the pandemic

“Just because you have a winning program doesn’t necessarily mean you have the best youth development practices happening there,” said Kate Carpenter, executive director of America Scores Milwaukee.