Professional Development

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International Learning Exchange 2019: Scotland

This summer, members of the National Afterschool Association spent time with the Scottish Out of School Care Network (SOSCN) and Scottish Government in Scotland as part of the annual International Learning Exchange (ILE).

The ILE, which originated in 2015, is designed as a cultural and educational experience for afterschool leaders from the United States to learn from—and with—leaders from other countries. Scotland has been proactive in spearheading new policy framework for ending childhood poverty and, in turn, improving out-of-school care, including the announcement of a new £3 million fund to help deliver accessible and affordable out-of-school childcare—making it a prime destination for this year's event.

Through education sessions organized by Irene Audain, director, Scottish Out of School Care Network, and education presentations from Kate Smith, policy director for SOT, Scottish Government, participants were able to gain a better understanding of out-of-school time efforts from both agencies and how they could be applied in the U.S. afterschool field. Themes included equality, children's rights, support for families, providing resources for those working with youth and more.

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Smith will also join NAA at the 2020 Annual Convention as a presenter this coming March, in Washington, D.C.

While visiting, participants were able to take in the sights, visiting scenic attractions like Edinburgh, the Royal Mile, St. Margaret's Chapel, St. Andrews Cathedral and Links. They were even allowed an opportunity to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, one of the most famous ships of the 20th century and Queen Elizabeth II's floating royal residence.

NAA and the 18 ILE participants were extremely grateful for the hospitality of the local people who generously shared their time and expertise.

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"Being able to travel to Scotland in light of the recent funding announcement was amazing," said Gina Warner, President and CEO, NAA. "The exchange of information between ILE participants and Scotland's government and SOSCN was beneficial to both our organizations. We're excited to welcome Kate Smith to the 2020 Annual Conference this year to continue this important conversation."

Invitations to the International Learning Exchange are a benefit exclusive to NAA's Executive Members. Join or upgrade today for the opportunity to be included.

Courtesy of NAA.

Photos courtesy of Kasie Smith. 

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