The South Dakota Afterschool Network works to better our state and its communities by connecting providers, parents and policymakers with proven tools and resources to increase the quality of and access to out-of-school time programming for K-12 children and youth.

Afterschool is a lifeline that keeps youth safe, helps kids learn and grow, and provides parents the ability to work without worry. While South Dakota is home to more than 300 afterschool programs, the demand for programs exceeds available spaces. In fact, 1 in 3 South Dakota children (34 percent) who are not in an afterschool program would be enrolled if it were available. That’s more than 42,000 children who are missing out on opportunities to participate in programming that supports their development academically, socially and economically.

[tribe_events view=”photo” category=”upcoming-events” events_per_page=”1″ tribe-bar=”false”]

[tribe_events view=”photo” category=”local-in-person-events” events_per_page=”1″ tribe-bar=”false”]

[tribe_events view=”photo” category=”virtual-training” events_per_page=”1″ tribe-bar=”false”]

Afterschool can provide valuable opportunities for students to explore STEM, and we are here to help your program succeed in STEM Learning! From webinars and trainings to our signature TMC Trailers that bring turnkey STEM activities to your doorstep, our diverse collection of resources meets you and your students where you are and provides the support you need to deliver quality programming to your students at any age. 

The South Dakota Afterschool Network wanted to create a mapping tool to better understand the landscape of afterschool and summer programs available for children and families. From the initial launch of the new mapping tool, we have identified some startling findings.

TMC (Think, Make, Create) Trailers

Hands-On Learning and STEM Activities delivered to your doorstep!

TMC (Think, Make, Create) Trailers

Hands-On Learning and STEM Activities delivered to your doorstep!

Changes are Coming for TMC Trailers…Stay tuned for 2025

The Think Create Make (TMC) Lab is changing and we are excited to share our plan on how to serve more programs, extend the season beyond just summer and provide STEM access to more youth.

Three years ago, the South Dakota Afterschool Network launched the TMC trailers, a 7’x14’ foot traveling trailer that could be easily transported to various afterschool and summer programs around South Dakota. We had three beautiful trailers filled to the brim with high-quality, hands-on STEM activities that can occur either inside or outside using the provided tables and canopies. These small-but-mighty trailers could be delivered almost anywhere to bring a wide array of fun and educational projects to your program, bringing 150+ activities to your doorstep.

Over the past three years here are the highlights of what we learned:

  • It’s great to have 150+ activities but most programs tend to use an average of 12 activities in the three weeks they have the trailers.
  • Summers are great in South Dakota but these trailers were not built for the miles we put on them. We spent a quarter of our TMC budget on repairs each year.
  • The demand is high! The last two summers we reserved our TMC Mobile Labs to capacity. Sadly that capacity was less than 10% of the programs we serve.
  • Insurance became an issue to transport the trailers.

We hit the reset button with three goals in mind:

  • Serve more programs
  • Increase utilization by programs
  • Provide targeted quality activities

This summer we are taking a pause, but hear us out. We are leaning on our STEM Ambassadors to help us out. Four of our Ambassadors have agreed to test out our new and slimmer cart model this summer. Helping us understand what works and what doesn’t with each and every cart and activity. They will rotate these carts every 3 weeks this summer and provide data behind youth voice/choice, program implementation and program utilization.

Then we will launch back in the Spring of 2025 with some big goals in mind:

  • We want to increase our reach from 10% of programs to 30% (tripling our reach).
  • We want programs to utilize 50% of the activities available in a cart. (An increase from >10% utilization)
  • We are reducing activities from 150+ to around 30 per cart. Our activities are typically designed for grades 3-5 but planning adjustments for K-2 as a third of all programs serve that age group.

While we are sorry to reduce TMC Mobile Labs for the summer of 2024 to just STEM Ambassador testing, we are confident 2025 will be our biggest and best STEM summer yet!

What programs say about TMC Trailer

“The kids’ attitude towards exploration is bigger. They want to dig in and do their own stuff now more than they did before.”

“Having the TMC for a few weeks this summer added a ton of variety and a great change of pace for our staff and kids.”

“My students benefited from the exposure to new activities and the ability to talk about other organizations available statewide.”

“We’d have one every two weeks if we could!”

What programs say about TMC Trailer

“The kids’ attitude towards exploration is bigger. They want to dig in and do their own stuff now more than they did before.”

“Having the TMC for a few weeks this summer added a ton of variety and a great change of pace for our staff and kids.”

“My students benefited from the exposure to new activities and the ability to talk about other organizations available statewide.”

“We’d have one every two weeks if we could!”

Thank you to our generous sponsors who support TMC learning!

[dica_divi_carousel loop=”on” autoplay=”on” hoverpause=”on” scroller_effect=”on” advanced_effect=”1″ carousel_container_margin=”||||false|false” carousel_container_padding=”||||false|false” title_margin=”4vw|2vw||2vw|false|true” text_margin=”|2vw|4vw|2vw|false|true” _builder_version=”4.16″ _module_preset=”default” background_color=”#FF8D63″ custom_padding=”||||false|false” border_radii_item=”on|10px|10px|10px|10px” global_colors_info=”{}”][dica_divi_carouselitem button_url_new_window=”1″ image=”https://sdafterschoolnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/aa-logo-3-1.png” _builder_version=”4.16″ _module_preset=”default” header_text_align=”center” global_colors_info=”{}”][/dica_divi_carouselitem][dica_divi_carouselitem button_url_new_window=”1″ image=”https://sdafterschoolnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/aa-logo-1.png” _builder_version=”4.16″ _module_preset=”default” header_text_align=”center” global_colors_info=”{}”][/dica_divi_carouselitem][dica_divi_carouselitem button_url_new_window=”1″ image=”https://sdafterschoolnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/aa-logo-8.png” _builder_version=”4.16″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”][/dica_divi_carouselitem][dica_divi_carouselitem button_url_new_window=”1″ image=”https://sdafterschoolnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/aa-logo-11.png” _builder_version=”4.16″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”][/dica_divi_carouselitem][/dica_divi_carousel]

Still have questions or would like to speak further?

Contact Billy Mawhiney
Executive Director
bmawhiney@sdafterschoolnetwork.org