Executive Extra

Monthly content focused on leadership exclusively for the Executive members of NAA.

Surviving and Thriving Together: A Decade of Progress

Thursday, 16 January 2020 09:00

As we enter a new decade, it's a time to reflect on the growth and success of the National Afterschool Association, our members, state affiliates, and the afterschool profession.

The collective commitment to this work—and to the professionals and leaders of this field—binds us all together across years, organizations and states.

In the last 10 years ...

NAA led by creating, contributing to and promoting professional and program standards, and providing skills training, resources and other opportunities to improve effective practice. Together, we ...

  • Launched AfterSchool Today magazine to provide a way to highlight best practices and address timely and important issues facing our field. Since that first issue in April 2010, we've continued to expand our audience and our offerings, with a print distribution of over 8,000 and a digital distribution of over 25,000. Members, state affiliates, national and other partners have served as authors, advisory board members, and co-editors contributing to the increased breadth and diversity of content.
  • Created, introduced and adopted the Core Knowledge and Competencies for Afterschool and Youth Development Professionals. The release of the CKCs in 2012 identified professional standards of practice for our field and was the foundational effort that led to this year's creation of the National Afterschool Association Professional Credentialing System. Both efforts cemented NAA's leadership role in supporting the development and recognition of afterschool professionals and leaders. Members, state affiliates, national and other partners worked on the co-creation of the CKCs upon which many state systems are now based. The NAAPCS was supported by affiliate and member pilot participation.
  • Continued to support the development of high-quality programs by creating the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards for OST (and the HEPA Standards 2.0) and Self-Assessment Tools, partnering with numerous national organizations to improve the quality of these offerings in programs across the country. The HEPA Standards have been adopted by countless members, state affiliates, national and other partners. The standards are now integrated into many state quality standards and systems and used to advocate for policies that support healthy out-of-school time.

NAA advocated for our field by recognizing and promoting the important contributions of the profession and its professionals. Together, we ...

  • Established the Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders awards to bring attention to the talent, diversity and innovation of emerging leaders in our field. Members, state affiliates, national and other partners have played a key role in sourcing and nominating a diverse pool of amazing candidates.
  • Recognized the impact and influence of established leaders in our field with the Most Influential awards.
  • Created Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week to draw attention to the value of the professionals in our field and the important work they do to support children, youth and families in their communities. Members, state affiliates and national partners have creatively embraced this effort of celebration and advocacy focused on professionals as the partner to the program-focused Lights On event.

NAA connected by creating community, networking and knowledge exchange for our members and the larger afterschool community. Together, we ...

  • Formalized state affiliate memorandum of agreements establishing a shared commitment to supporting the individuals who are working with and on behalf of children and youth across the country. We are stronger together!
  • Broadened our membership to be more inclusive of all stages of career and professional development and created a system to include state affiliate members as NAA ambassadors. Adding ambassador (and the connection system) and advocate memberships, while still growing our Executive membership, ensures that we are engaging and supporting the widest spectrum of professionals in our field.
  • Established a Corporate Advisory Board to strengthen connections between the afterschool field and the corporations who value the opportunities investment in afterschool provides.
  • Established an International Learning Exchange to increase knowledge and connections with colleagues around the world. In its sixth year, ILE continues to be an opportunity to grow our impact and influence beyond our borders.
  • Continued to host the nation's only afterschool convention, a gathering of members—both afterschool professionals and leaders—who share the "why" of positively impacting young people. And we can't wait to do it all again with you in March 2020!

In the last 10 years together, we led. We advocated. We connected. And we survived a tornado (at NAA12 in Dallas, Texas)!

Each accomplishment above was, in its own way, a natural progression of our work and our growth together, but also a singular achievement that further established the field of afterschool and our association's leadership role.

This month, we'll release a research report on the landscape of afterschool leadership and the implications for issues of diversity and equity. This has been an issue of importance to all of us in this field for many years and it's a fitting way to launch our next decade of work.

Thank you for being a part of this journey with NAA! We're excited to see where we can go (and grow) together!

Courtesy of NAA.