I realized I had greatly underestimated how much stuff there might be, which became clear when the man who was there to help me looked at me, looked pointedly behind me and asked: "You came by yourself?"
Six pallets waited for me.
Each stacked about six feet high.
Since these documents covered 30 years (way back before we had "the cloud"), there were a lot of papers and items that could be destroyed. Yet there were some amazing gems in the middle of all the dust.
I found the minutes from one of the first National School Age Care Alliance (NSACA) organizing meetings back in 1990. I found annual reports from the early '90s, marketing brochures from many of our early affiliates and a lot more that I can't wait to dive into. I even found our first grant from the Wallace Foundation in 1995—still one of our great foundation partners!
Driving home nearly four hours later, I was really overwhelmed—and, frankly, humbled—to realize that all of us who are a part of NAA are part of continuing such a rich history of service to children and families.
I am so excited to think about how to share this history with all of our members over the next year as we celebrate our 30th anniversary. I even found several early papers that had sticky notes attached that said "For the Archives." It's as if those early leaders knew what they were doing was special; that they were building the field that was going to be around for years and years to come, serving untold numbers of children and families.
Way back in the late 1980s, some of you were working in programs and were part of those early days. Some of you were the school-aged children in those early programs. Some of you weren't even born yet.
Now, 30 years later, we together represent the best of what has come before us—and the best of what is yet to come. That history of NAA, and the future we can shape together, is something we should all be proud (and excited!) to be a part of.
Written by Gina Warner, President and CEO of NAA.