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Professional Development

NAA publishes fresh, new content every week covering a wide variety of topics related to the field of aftershool. In addition, NAA offers a variety of opportunities for virtual professional development (PD) through meaningful content, conversations and connections. Click here to see full descriptions of virtual PD offerings.

Member-to-Member Tip Off: Expressing Gratitude

In NAA's Reopening Afterschool Facebook group, members have been asked questions covering a variety of relevant and helpful topics with the goal of offering an exchange of tips between leaders and professionals in the field.

Recently, NAA asked afterschool leaders for their best tips for expressing gratitude to others during the pandemic:

"I love sending hand written thank you notes or simple note of affirmations to others. It is a sure way to brighten a day." – Jessica McKinley, Indiana Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs.

"Personal notes are great. At a staff meeting, I like to go around and mention positive things about each staff. Sonic drinks often. I do a beginning of the year sheet that asks their strengths and goals for the year. Plus, fun stuff about them. Making sure I invest time to help develop their leadership styles." – Erica Kreisler, Out of School Coordinator, Kansas City of Parks & Recreation.

"We do a weekly shout out as part of our leadership meetings. Each person has the opportunity to shout out a co-worker for something that they did. Some examples are: Sending staff to cover at a site last minute, sharing resources, helping in a stressful situation. It has really helped." – Cassie Hackett, Program Manager, Lee's Summit Before and After School Services.

"We do a round of weekly celebrations during meetings. People can share something great they saw, or something that they accomplished, just a change to share something good." – Tyler Kearns, Program Coordinator, Clayton School District: Kid Zone.

"My team does a great job paying attention to little things that bring each of us joy. We often send these things to each other, as a way to say thanks. Whether it's a diet coke or popcorn from Trader Joe's, getting a little pick-me-up goes a long way!" – Holly Phillips, School Alignment Specialist, Utah Afterschool Network.

"Staff shout outs are wonderful; we have done 'bucket fillers' with our staff team for years. We also encourage our youth to write notes of gratitude to staff in our community center and tape them to their doors. During November, we have a gratitude tree in classrooms. It is just some branches in a planter but the kids write on paper leaves and hang them from the tree. By the end of the month, it is beautifully full!" – Nikki Mills, Program Manager, Vineyard Community Center.

What are some of your favorite ways to show gratitude?

NAA Executive members can join the Reopening Afterschool Facebook group to ask questions, brainstorm solutions, share resources, and learn from each other as our field takes on the challenge of meeting the needs of kids, families, and communities facing a very different back to school season. For more information and access, login to your member account today.

Courtesy of NAA.