by Sarah Rinner, Elementary School Program Director
I just spent three inspiring days in Grapevine, TX for the National AfterSchool Association’s annual convention. Over 1500 attendees gathered to share tools and techniques, resources, stories from the field, and to celebrate and inspire each other’s work in our own communities. And yes, there was a bit of tornado-dodging (we had to go into the “tunnels” of the convention center briefly) and our coastal colleagues were a little delayed by travel, but that didn’t stop us from making the most of all the conference had to offer.
I wanted to share a few highlights from the keynote speakers.
- All three were engaging, entertaining, and enthusiastic about speaking to us.
- They shared funny stories and words of wisdom geared toward the out-of-school time professionals in the room.
- They reminded us of the impact we have on the youth we serve, the opportunities we give them to discover and learn and play and laugh, and that we must never believe that what we do in after school programs doesn’t matter or our interactions with youth won’t make a difference.
Our final speaker, Manual Scott, was the most powerful for me, however, as he shared his story with us. He challenged us to never give up on a child, never stop showing up, and never doubt their potential. As after school professionals–in our classrooms, laboratories, gardens and studios, starting with just a smile — we can help guide children toward a more positive future.
For information on Theatre Action Project’s After School programs, click here.