November 12, 2020

Strollin' Down Memory Lane with the Lights On

Angel Gomez |  

Chaz Pounder | 

Man, oh man! What a month October was. It came and it went, but the memories we enjoyed throughout all of the events that month made it fly by even faster. We held our first ever virtual Lights On Afterschool Celebration, joined 9 other western states for a Town Hall celebrating Lights On Afterschool, and held our 16th annual Jump Start Conference (also virtually.) All in all, it was a month full of celebration, laughs, lessons learned, heartwarming connections, and a reminder of the purpose that brings us to do this work. 

Open Minds Open Spaces - Town Hall

On Wednesday, October 21, UAN, along with afterschool providers around the State of Utah, joined nine other western states for a Town Hall in celebration of Lights On Afterschool during the Open Minds Open Spaces Multi-State Conference. During this pandemic (and always!) afterschool and summer programs have stepped up to support children, youth and families in difficult and challenging times. With resolve and resilience, programs support social and emotional well-being, academic learning, physical health and nutrition and serve as a critical touch point for youth. This year, we were lucky to be joined by like-minded folks from our neighboring states in pushing along the message that afterschool programs are necessary and vital to our communities. 

The Town Hall:

  • Recognized what afterschool is doing for youth
  • Celebrated the afterschool workforce
  • Recognized Champions from 10 states across the West
  • Featured discussions with youth and program leaders

Utah Lights On Afterschool State Rally

Directly after the Town Hall, UAN hosted our first ever Utah Lights On Afterschool State Rally! Goodness, did we have a great time. Even though it was virtual, it was an event full of great connections with youth, afterschool providers, and afterschool champions from our state. Our Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Senator Luz Escamilla where she touted the importance of programs and helped keep high spirits alive. She introduced Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake’s Youth of the Year, Carissa Vera, as she shared her story and why afterschool programs are important to her and to youth in our state. We gave away some fun prizes, and most importantly of all, we danced! 

16th Annual Jump Start Conference 

The UAN team recently completed their 16th year of hosting the Utah Afterschool Jump Start Conference, and what a conference it was! Due to our current circumstances, this was our first time going virtual and as you can imagine, it was quite the endeavor to put everything together, but we pulled it off!

The response was overwhelmingly positive, and we give special thanks to our presenters and nearly 600 participants for helping make it a success. The conference provided a combination of recorded and live workshops, exhibitor hall, virtual lounge, and networking discussions through the event forum. Workshop topics included STEM, Prevention, Social Emotional Learning, and Health and Wellness. 

Here are some fun highlights from our conference participants: 

“I really loved this opening meeting!” said one participant. “It was a great way to kick off this year’s Jump Start. I liked hearing about his (Leland Melvin) experience as an astronaut but also how he was aware of the lack of diversity and made the best of that situation.” 

One participant had this to say: “My biggest takeaway, was how much STEM can be implemented in art projects. In my program, a lot of our students love any opportunity to complete an art project. When we teach an academic course, many of them begin to feel bored with the lesson. I think that by incorporating art into their STEM lessons, they will be more apt to participate and learn.” 

And our favorite comment, “I’m so proud of all the hard work that you had accomplished with Jump Start. Thank you for all of your dedication, effort, and all of the logistics you guys had to go through with a smile. Thank you for creating high-quality professional learning opportunities for after school professionals.” 

A special thank you to our 2020 conference sponsors, Dominion Energy, Mott Foundation, Workforce Services Office of Childcare, National Afterschool Association, Internet essentials, United Way of Salt Lake, and Million Girls MoonShot. 

Even though Jump Start has now come and gone, we have more professional learning opportunities coming your way. Be on the lookout for future announcements about the 2020 Recharge Conference.