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What’s in a Name? The Story Behind NAA23 Convention’s Theme

Monday, 21 November 2022 08:18

You. Us. All: How Support for LGBTQA+ Youth and Current Policy in the Sunshine State Influenced This Year’s Convention

In October, we shared the first glimpse of our National AfterSchool Association 2023 (NAA23) Convention, which takes place March 19-22, 2023, in Orlando, Florida. You.Us. All. Together We Shine has been the anthem of our post-pandemic approach to supporting youth and youth-serving workers. However, with the enactment of Florida’s House Bill 1557, it has become a rallying cry.

This anti-LGBTQA+ legislation is a giant leap backward from the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) work we are committed to at NAA, and reconciliation between our values and a locked-in Convention contract seemed moot. As we mulled over the problem, one key focus resonated with the team. NAA is committed to equitable out-of-school time (OST) in all 50 states and, now more than ever, there is a need to act in support of local youth development workers to provide Convention participants with a welcoming environment where they learn, connect, and grow with others who share a collective ‘why.’

“Our hearts are with young people, youth development professionals, and others who live with and fight against this cruel reality every day in Florida and across the nation,” NAA Chief Operating Officer Heidi Ham stated. “We intentionally picked this year’s theme and color scheme to reflect our position, and our programming will do the same.” 

We have designed NAA23 to be the ultimate charging station for OST professionals to experience joy and rejuvenation, and what better place to let your soul shine than in the most magical city in the country? Orlando has been a pioneer in LGBTQA+ tourism dating back to the original Gay Days in 1991. The city is internationally recognized as a welcoming and inclusive city for everybody, regardless of gender, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

We are excited to spend three days learning and growing with 1,000+ OST leaders and professionals, and equally enthusiastic about the conviction Convention stands for this year. We hope that you will join us in solidarity for an event that ensures the members of our workforce are valued, recognized, and returned to their communities revitalized, and better prepared to advocate for the changes needed to fully support young people and families.

#NAA23 You. Us. All. Together, we shine. Register Today!