South Dakota Celebrates 20 Years of Lights On Afterschool!
South Dakota celebrated the 20th anniversary of Lights On Afterschool in coordination with the SoDakSACA Afterschool Conference on October 11, 2019. The event was scheduled to take place at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center in Lead, but was moved to the conference location in Spearfish due to an early fall blizzard. The program went on as planned in spite of the blizzard with over 100 participants celebrating the programs that dot our state.
The first statewide observance of Lights On Afterschool took place on Oct. 16, 2010 at Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The South Dakota School Age Care Alliance and the South Dakota Afterschool Network hosted the event to focus local, state and national attention on the importance of quality afterschool programs. Featuring a chili supper, youth performers and a special lighting ceremony, the event also had national speakers. Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant joined Dr. Paul Young, President of the National Afterschool Association, along with other state and local speakers and participants. Afterschool providers, students, families and community leaders attended the event to focus on the benefits of afterschool programs for children, their families, communities and the state’s economy.
South Dakota has celebrated ‘Lights On’ with a variety of events throughout the years. Other lighting events have also been held at the Center of the Nation Monument in Belle Fourche, the Falls of the Big Sioux in Sioux Falls, the Corn Palace in Mitchell, and the Kevin Costner Tatanka Sculpture located in Deadwood. We hope to fulfill our dream of lighting the Homestake Lab in Lead soon!