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!