On Thursday August 24, 2023, more than 100 out-of-school time (OST) directors gathered in Royal Palm Beach to celebrate the beginning of a new school year and their commitment to quality afterschool programming. These practitioners are participants of Prime Time’s Quality Improvement System (QIS), joining for Prime Time’s annual QIS Director’s Gathering.
This gathering is held each year to set every program up for success as the school year begins. Practitioners come together to connect, grow and learn ways to better impact the youth they serve under the coaching and guidance of Prime Time’s entire team.
The morning began with breakfast which then led into a freeze-dance style welcome. Members from all the different sites danced around the hall until the music stopped allowing them to speak with other afterschool programs they had never met before. These directors shared stories of last year’s successful OST programming with each other. As the air grew jauntier, the QIS directors were ready to begin the learning activities.
The new Well-Being and Life Skills Initiative was introduced, which was followed up by Jenga – with a twist! This new initiative is all about building an afterschool climate and culture whereby youth thrive physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially, and these principles were adopted into the Jenga game. On the back of each block was a prompt that dealt with one of these concepts with different point values assigned to each. From jumping up and down to sharing a cherished memory, the practitioners dived in, building their towers back up as soon as they fell. Many directors also expressed interest in taking this activity back to their programs to share with their youth.
The next activity promoted teamwork and the extremely popular STEAM series. Participants received colorful pipes and needed to work together to transfer a ball from the start point into a bucket. As each round went on, new challenges were added by removing some of the pipe sections until finally multiple tables of directors had to work together to complete their task. This activity had directors acting like the children and youth they service, and laughter was heard throughout the Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center.
The day ended with tons of prizes being given away, including three grand prize kits full of STEAM goodies to take back to their programs. Our QIS Directors are ready to lead their staff as they enter a new school year with loads of new knowledge and excitement to continue on their journey of bringing high quality programming to the children and youth they serve – while having fun themselves too!
A special thank you to Florida Power & Light for sponsoring Prime Time’s QIS Directors Gathering.