Top SDAN Moments of 2021

2021 was a groundbreaking year for the South Dakota Afterschool Network. As we close 2021 and look towards 2022, we want to highlight some of the top moments over the past year for the South Dakota Afterschool Network.

  • Number 5 – The listening tour. When Billy became our Executive Director in October, he was determined to meet programs and staff where they are and find out on the ground what were the successes and trials they were facing. Billy traveled nearly 1000 miles through 5 large group meetings sharing the history of SDAN, asking provoking questions, and genuinely listening. We were able to begin collecting data on how Afterschool programs in South Dakota plan their programming as well as their connection and relationships with their local school districts. Learn more about the results of this inquiry in our upcoming March fireside chat.


  • Number 4 – SoDakSACA & Lights On Afterschool! We greatly appreciated SoDakSACA hosting an in-person conference this year and being with our people. We all needed that connection again. A highlight of that event was watching the Corn Palace lit up for Lights On Afterschool and hearing from US Representative Dusty Johnson about the value of afterschool programs in the state.


  • Number 3 – Fireside Chats. We had some really great moments in 2021 with some dynamic speakers. What started out as an opportunity to just let folks come together virtually to share ideas, thoughts, fears, and programs turned into this new program enhancement and expectation. The idea of bringing in experts from across the country focusing on a specific area of expertise was not only educational but also entertaining. Topics range from COVID funds to Mental Health to sit-downs with high-level speakers such as Terry Petersen (the Godfather of Afterschool), Secretary Sanderson (South Dakota’s Dept of Education Secretary in the Governor’s cabinet), and most importantly a youth panel describing the impacts Afterschool programs had on their lives.


  • Number 2 – The Official Launching of the TMC Trailers. Receiving the trailers in the middle of a pandemic seemed surreal and yet ideal at the same time. A time of uncertainty paired with the opportunity to meet programs where they are was the perfect equation. Christine Wood, board member and 4-H STEM Field Specialist, took on the challenge of preparing and dispersing our now 3 trailers across the state. Expect more to come in 2022 as SDAN hones in with a STEM focus to reach more programs with more capacity.


  • Number 1 – Karla’s Retirement. Our fearless leader decided it was time to begin a new chapter in life and pass on the torch. Karla’s entire career was developed around the Afterschool scene. She began her work at the Girls Club, climbing to the CEO position at Youth Enrichment Services (now Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire), transitioning to YWCA/EmBe, and finishing here at SDAN. She brought SDAN out of a slow time and transitioned us into an established and thriving entity. We are forever grateful for Karla’s impact and time and celebrate her as our top moment in 2021. We also welcomed Billy Mawhiney as our New Executive Director following Karla’s retirement!

Thank you for being a part of our journey in 2021 and we look forward to serving you in 2022!


Activities & Resources for Programs – May

Activities & Resources for Programs – May

Activities Activity Playlist Looking for a sequence of activities you can implement in your afterschool program today? Say goodbye to googling or searching on Pinterest. Use the following activities in sequence to support youth in building an engineering mindset....

Training and Professional Development – May

Training and Professional Development – May

  SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES Applications open for Project EDGE Social-Emotional Curriculum Testers! Project EDGE (Engagement and Development for Girls through Engineering) is testing and evaluating an OST curriculum that integrates engineering activities and...

City Build 2040 Challenge

City Build 2040 Challenge

City Build 2040 Challenge A Program Created By Beyond School Bells Nebraska The City Build is a hands-on experience for K-8 youth to use recycled, recyclable, and crafting materials to build a model of their own community 20-30 years in the future. Students will work...

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.

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.