On November 1st, Vermont Afterschool hosted its annual Afterschool Conference in Stowe. The event brought together a wide array of program providers from around the state who came to enjoy a keynote presentation from Matthew Emerzian of Every Monday Matters, attend workshops, and engage in professional development and networking. The full-day experience provided 24 workshop selections focused on best practices in out-of-school time programming, youth development, and expanded learning opportunities.
The conference itself was a big success. The vast majority of attendees (96%) said that their overall experience was excellent or good and 97% of attendees said that the event met or surpassed their expectations. Ninety-four percent said that the informational content was excellent or good, and the same percentage said that the overall quality of presenters was excellent or good.
The Vermont Afterschool Conference is our major event of the year, and as such we use the registration process as a way to collect information about the programs of those who are attending since these attendees are among our most engaged program providers in the state. We often impact them substantially through some of our other initiatives throughout the year. By looking at who attended the conference and the programs that they run, we can get a snapshot into the expanded learning programming landscape around the state. With that, here is who was there:
In total, there were 206 afterschool professionals that attended the conference. They represented 54 expanded learning time projects/organizations that comprised a total of over 111 individual expanded learning time program sites. These programs were from all over the state: they collectively represented 95 towns and 38 supervisory unions and school districts.
One Planet, which is based in Royalton, had the highest representation at the conference with 21 participants attending. ANWSD After School Programs in Vergennes, The Afterschool Connection in Cambridge, Mary Johnson Children’s Center in Middlebury, and LEAPS in Richford, each sent 11 participants. The next best-represented program was Crossroads in Swanton with nine attendees, followed by Kingdom East Afterschool Program (KEAP) in Lyndon with eight participants. Sara Holbrook Community Center and King Street Center, Inc, both based in Burlington, as well as CVSU Afterschool in Williamstown each sent seven participants.
We collected data about the programs themselves, including the number of children and youth enrolled in them. In total, 13,723 children and youth in Vermont were ultimately represented by their program providers at our conference. To give you an idea of how substantial that number is, consider our estimate from based on the Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3PM report published in 2014 that 21,690 total children and youth were served by afterschool programs across the state that year. Even if we factor in program expansion and growth, we can still reason that more than half of children and youth that attend expanded learning time programming in the state had program providers gaining new knowledge to help serve them better at our conference in 2019.
A few more details about the programs that were represented at the conference: the vast majority served elementary school students; two-thirds of them (68%) served middle school-aged students; and 15% of them served high school students. Eighty-five percent of them operated within school buildings, while the other 15% were community-based. Just over three-quarters of them (77%) charged a fee for attendance. Among those programs that did charge a fee, the average reported daily programming rate per student was $14.
We are so grateful for each and every out-of-school time professional that traveled to Stowe for the Vermont Afterschool Conference. See you next year!