Spring Advocacy: 2018 Child Advocacy Day


Each year, the Missouri AfterSchool Network is one of many organizations which helps to plan the annual Missouri Child Advocacy Day. This annual event brings together child advocates from throughout the state and across disciplines to let Missouri legislators know our unified message – Kids are our BEST investment.

This year, Child Advocacy Day takes place tomorrow, April 3 in Jefferson City. Check out more details here: http://childadvocacyday.org.

If you are planning to attend, make sure to stop by MASN’s exhibit table in the 3rd Floor Rotunda and say hello! Even if you can’t make it to Jefferson City, we would love for you to participate from home.

Here are a few ways you can add to the impact of Child Advocacy Day from home:

  • Participate via Social Media by tweeting at your Reps and Senators. Use these Sample Tweets or create your own:
    • “Just had a great visit with @legislatorsname in Jeff City for #MOCAD2018! #AfterschoolWorks”
    • “@legislatorsname, in Missouri, kids are our BEST investment! Please support our children at all stages of life, including during out of school time. #MOCAD2018 #AfterschoolWorks
    • “@legislatorsname, couldn’t make it to #MOCAD2018, but know that children are Missouri’s most valuable resource. Please make sure to support our children during this year’s legislative session.”
    • “@legislatorsname, couldn’t make it to #MOCAD2018, but would love to show you how #AfterschoolWorks for children and families in our community. I will follow up to schedule a time for you to come visit!”
  • Contact your Senator or Representative’s office and set up an in-district meeting or a site visit – MASN can help once you have the meeting set!


Whether you can travel the distance or not, it is important that we let legislators know in Missouri, kids are our BEST investment! Join the over 500 advocates from around the state by taking these quick steps to participate in Child Advocacy Day from home on April 3.


2018 Celebration of Afterschool Recap


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Last week, MASN hosted its third annual Celebration of Afterschool Luncheon and Conference at Tan-Tar-A Resort and Conference Center in the Lake of the Ozarks. The annual event is an opportunity to recognize the hard work being done by professionals, partners, administrators and champions to ensure that all Missouri youth have access to high-quality afterschool programs.

This year, MASN honored Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (District 3) and Senator Roy Blunt as 2018 Statewide Afterschool Champions, for their work at the federal level to ensure support for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program. Congressman Luetkemeyer was there to accept his award, and Hannah Cleeton, Regional Representative for Senator Blunt, accepted the award on his behalf.

During his award acceptance, Congressman Luetkemeyer discussed the importance of afterschool programs, particularly in rural communities. He emphasized the importance of STEM learning in afterschool, and how the exposure to tech could play a key role in helping to close the national tech skills gap.

MASN also honored Maya Irvine from Camdenton, MO who was one of five youth selected nationwide to participate in the Afterschool Alliance’s inaugural Youth Ambassador Program. Maya will dedicate time throughout the year to a project that highlights the value of afterschool programs, and will also join the Missouri team in Washington DC during the Afterschool for All Challenge in April to speak with the state’s Congressional delegation.

In addition to these special honorees, MASN also honored staff members throughout the state for reaching career and educational milestones, programs for their milestones and achievements, and partners and administrators who support afterschool in their communities.

See the full list of 2018 Celebration of Afterschool Honorees here.

You can also view additional Celebration of Afterschool pictures on our Facebook page here. 

In the future, the Celebration of Afterschool Luncheon will continue as part of the annual MOSAC2 Conference. This Fall, the event will be held at the Lodge of the Four Seasons at the Lake of the Ozarks, November 1-4. Registration will open later this Spring, so be sure to check back at http://moafterschool.org for more information.

Congratulations to all of our awardees, and thanks for all that you do to support youth and families afterschool everyday! 

What If Wednesday: Creating Moments that Matter


What If you could intentionally create memorable moments for your students and your staff?

When was the last time something truly memorable happened in your program or at your site? When was the last time you did something for your staff that they will remember years from now? What is the last “Moment” you had at work (or in your personal life)?

I have just finished reading a book called The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath. This is a fascinating book about recognizing significant moments in our lives and the elements involved in those moments. Some moments are the result of chance but this book discusses how we can intentionally create memorable moments for ourselves and those around us.

As the authors write, “Our lives are measured in moments, and defining moments are the ones that endure in our memories. In the pages ahead, we’ll show you how to make more of them.”

As I was reading through the book (and I would recommend it to you!), I kept thinking about the power we have in afterschool to create moments for our students. We have our kids for a few hours every day in a structured but flexible setting. We often have not only permission, but encouragement to be creative in our programming. What a great opportunity to create memorable moments for our students!

One very small, but significant, element that contributes to creating moments is called “breaking the script.” The Heath brothers define breaking the script as defying people’s expectations of how an experience will unfold. Our students come into our space expecting a certain routine to be followed because that is what we do every day. Because we have a bit of freedom in an afterschool setting, we could easily break the script–occasionally ditch the routine–and create a memorable moment for our students.

What If instead of sticking to your usual routine, one day you toss the routine and have a game day?

What If you and your staff create an “impromptu” awards show for your students and recognize them for positive traits or accomplishments? Have the staff dress up and make formal presentations, if you want.

What If you occasionally set aside time for a small group of students in your program to experience a special event? Rotate through the students so that everyone has the experience at some point in the school year.

What If you do something as simple as popping popcorn in a popper but you “forget” to put the top on and popcorn flies out as it pops?

We cannot break the script all the time. If we do, it loses its effect. We are just trying to occasionally create moments out of the ordinary that our students will remember long after they have moved on from our program. If you have staff who work under you, I would suggest creating moments for your staff as well.

Be creative. Break the script. Create moments for your students, your staff, and yourself!




Brad Lademann
Afterschool Resource Coordinator
Missouri AfterSchool Network 

Brad Lademann is a dynamic youth speaker with 16 years of public speaking experience and 12 years of experience working with middle school and high school students. He has worked with teens in many capacities including teacher, youth pastor, coach, mentor, and afterschool program supervisor. He currently works with MASN as our Resource Coordinator and provides technical assistance to SAC and 21CCLC grantees.

Partner Blog: New Year System Updates

Updates from Mallory at the OPEN Initiative

There is no better way to start a New Year than to reflect on all the great things that happened in the previous year. While OPEN is excited about doing awesome things in 2018, we want to take a moment to pat ourselves on the back for a few of the awesome things that happened in 2017!

Let’s start with one of our favorite things… data! In 2017;

  • 20,469 MOPD IDs were created by practitioners.
  • 5,213 Toolbox account were created.
  • 2,531 MOPD ID individuals became MOPD Registry Members.

To help individuals interfacing with the Toolbox and the greater MOPD System, we also updated current documents on our static website and added additional instructional guides; www.openinitiative.org.

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You can find these great documents on our website by clicking the gold button related to the topic you need more information about! For example, need help creating a Toolbox account? We have detailed instructions for that! Clicking the gold button titled MOPD ID & Toolbox Account will list all the documents we have created related to MOPD IDs and Toolbox accounts.

Last but not least, we added another member to our team, making the OPEN crew a total of 5! Shawn Jackson joined OPEN late November of 2017. We are so excited to have him on our team! He is quickly learning all about OPEN and making great strides in customer service. He is now answering phone calls and responding to emails.

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As always, we appreciate your dedication to the children you serve. Know that the OPEN team is always working to help practitioners and advance the early childhood and school age field. We hope you had a great 2017 and wish you even more greatness in 2018!

What If Wednesday: The Possibilities in Reflection


What If progress is about small choices you make every day?

As we come to the end of the year, many of us are prepping for the holidays and some of us will start thinking about the upcoming year. The end of a year, and the beginning of a new one, is a natural place to begin reflecting on the year that has been and to think about what we might give ourselves to in the next year. Here are a few things to ponder as we head into the New Year.

What If the process is about getting better and not about becoming perfect?

What If your fear is unfounded? What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

What If you take time to reflect on this past year? What was good? What was not good? What will you keep doing? What will you do differently next year?

What If you set a goal instead of creating a resolution?

Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.

What If you have put off the dream for long enough?

Go back to school, Write the book, Change the world, etc. Take a few steps to make it happen.

What If you are making more of a difference than you think are?

Keep going!

What If you take care of you?

Don’t neglect yourself in all of your taking care of others.

What If you take a long-term view of what you do but remain present in each moment along the way?

What If you recognize that everyone around you is carrying some kind of weight in their life?

Be kind. Every day.

What if you develop your leadership skills next year?

Take a class, read books, and connect to leaders around you.

What If you advocate for children beyond providing programming for your local students?

Get involved with afterschool advocacy on a state or national level.

What If relationships are the most important thing you will invest in next year?


What we do in the world of afterschool is a mix of long-term goals and everyday moments. As we go into the next year, keep in mind that we are working to help our students grow into healthy, educated, responsible adults who know their infinite value but we are doing that one day at a time. Remember that our choices, though seemingly small, are significant in all we do.

From all of us at the Missouri AfterSchool Network…

Happy Holidays & we’ll see you next year!




Brad Lademann
Afterschool Resource Coordinator
Missouri AfterSchool Network 

Brad Lademann is a dynamic youth speaker with 16 years of public speaking experience and 12 years of experience working with middle school and high school students. He has worked with teens in many capacities including teacher, youth pastor, coach, mentor, and afterschool program supervisor. He currently works with MASN as our Resource Coordinator and provides technical assistance to SAC and 21CCLC grantees.

December is for COMMUNITY

Click here to download a PDF version of this blog. 


With the holiday season upon us, it is important that we support our communities and foster service learning to ensure that students understand the value of helping others. This month, concentrate on simple and profound ways to give back.

Legislative Advocacy in December

In keeping an eye on Congress and Washington, now is the time to reach out to your representatives and advocate for afterschool funding. While a tax reform bill has been passed, legislators are still working on the FY 2018 budget. The current budget deadline is December 8th of this year, and the approval process still holds time for adjustments.

Show legislators your support for afterschool by reaching out to them about your own experiences.  Personal stories play a huge role in promoting afterschool. You can do this by calling their offices, writing letters and emails, utilizing social media, and connecting with us. If you’re not sure who your representative is, use this lookup tool to find out.

Share your afterschool story here!

Activities for Youth and Families

With winter break just around the corner, use this time outside of the traditional classroom to explore your child’s interests and encourage learning. Tailor your time together to improve the skills they’ve learned at school while promoting education they’ll enjoy. Visiting a library together and picking out books, practicing emotional regulation through board games, and encouraging fine motor skills with crafts and cooking are all ways to continue learning through the break.


Local Advocacy in December

We all know the impact that afterschool has in our communities. From keeping kids safe to keeping parents working, afterschool programs are assets in Missouri. In taking these principles a step further, afterschool often plays a role in supporting the community through service.

Teaching values of kindness, camaraderie and a dedication to volunteering can start at any point and for any age groups. Decorating and writing in holiday cards for local shelters and nursing homes, volunteering at a food bank, and even starting a collection of food or toys are all simple ways to get kids involved in the community.

Staying Connected via Social Media

Don’t forget to follow us @MO_Afterschool on Twitter and look for the Missouri AfterSchool Network on Facebook!

Dates to Remember this Month

12/8/2017- Congressional Budget Deadline

12/15/2017- Winter Break Begins

Save the Date

1/15/2018- Martin Luther King Jr. Day

What If Wednesday: What if there is more?


Your program is going well. Kids are showing up and enjoying themselves. Parents appreciate what you do for their children. Even the schools whose children you serve are pleased with the academic and behavioral improvement they see from students who attend your program. Life is good!! But…

What If there is more you can give your students?

I am fully aware that question has the potential to make you angry because you are already doing so much OR make you tired because you wonder if you have anything else to give. Let me explain.

Typically, when things are not running smoothly or not going well, someone will step up and suggest a way to improve. You can take a different approach, you can offer different program ideas, or you can streamline processes. When progress is not happening, it is easy to see that changes need to be made.

However, when things are going well, we have a tendency to keep doing what we are doing. We get into a routine and we stay there because, well…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Why look to change anything when everything is great?

The intent behind the “What If there is more?” question is to keep us on a constant quest to become better at what we do. The Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality Improvement describes it in terms of their “Assess, Plan, Improve” cycle. If we are consistently gauging our progress and implementing plans for improvement, even when we are doing well, the ultimate beneficiaries will be our students.

This is more of a mindset than it is a to-do list.

It is an awareness of who or what we might be able to connect to our program. Who are people in our community that have something to offer our students? What businesses or organizations can we partner with, and in what way? What activities do our students enjoy and how can we expand on those? What programs would our students like to have that we currently do not offer? How can we connect more students and families to what we are doing in our program?


Begin to ask yourself the questions about improving your program, and not just when you are there with the students, but when you are at the grocery store or driving around town or talking with someone at a meeting. Changing your mindset to consistently focus on improvement can have amazing results. Especially when things are already going well.

What If you can change their world?




Brad Lademann
Afterschool Resource Coordinator
Missouri AfterSchool Network 

Brad Lademann is a dynamic youth speaker with 16 years of public speaking experience and 12 years of experience working with middle school and high school students. He has worked with teens in many capacities including teacher, youth pastor, coach, mentor, and afterschool program supervisor. He currently works with MASN as our Resource Coordinator and provides technical assistance to SAC and 21CCLC grantees.