On Saturday, August 1, GUIDE partnered with Live Healthy Gwinnett to host the first ever Out-of-School Time Expo at Bogan Park in Buford, GA. On this day, experts in the fields of afterschool, health and wellness, leadership and more joined together to present workshops and exhibit for the participants who came from all over the Metro-Atlanta area.
The Expo kicked off with an opening session focused on some of the keys to positive youth development and helping youth thrive. Through this interactive session, participants began to understand the value of curiosity and the importance of happiness in youth programs. Following this session, participants had the opportunity to choose from several workshops and Learning Labs to gain skills, knowledge, ideas and tools to enhance their work in afterschool and out-of-school time programs. Workshops included understanding how to energize out-of-school time by including physical activity; adding play or tapping into youth sparks; enhancing programs with STEM activities, meditation or environmental education; and improving programs by creating a wellness blueprint, developing youth confidence through the growth mindset and learning how to utilize storytelling to advocate for out-of-school time funding and support. Participants who chose to attend Learning Labs were able to understand the basics of CPR and First Aid, create catapults and parachutes to explore concepts of physics, participate in a vocabulary building challenge and capitalize on the value of reflection by creating jars and journals.
Lunch hour at the Expo was a special event with several food trucks, mascots and time to visit the vendors in our Exhibit Hall. During this time, participants had the opportunity to watch a firefighter put on protection gear, enjoy a karate demonstration, play chess or try to get a hole-in-one, learn about the amount of sugar in various drinks and visit with vendors sharing valuable information about resources, programs and opportunities around Gwinnett and Metro-Atlanta.
The Out-of-School Time Expo was a unique opportunity for professionals to gain a variety of tools and resources free of charge. Several participants shared that this event was valuable and would have lasting impact on their work with youth, and many asked when a similar event would be held again.
We are grateful to all of our workshop presenters, exhibitors, staff and participants who made the day a success! We’ll see you next time!