How can you gain more public awareness and support for your team? How can you gain access to school pools that you have been unable to access before? Read on to find out more.
What is the Afterschool Alliance?
Afterschool Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of afterschool programs and advocating for quality, affordable programs for all children. The Alliance was created to heighten public awareness and advocacy and to serve as a public resource. Specific goals include:
- Researching, collecting, and disseminating key data and lessons
- Educating the public through ongoing awareness efforts
- Engaging local practitioners and community residents in outreach and advocacy
- Promoting investment in afterschool initiatives at the national, state and local levels
Most after school programs are provided through the school systems and through nonprofit community programs. Any program that offers the following can be considered an afterschool program:
- Provide safe, challenging, engaging and fun learning experiences to help children and youth develop their social, emotional, physical, cultural and academic skills.
- Support working families by ensuring their children are safe and productive after the regular school day ends.
- Build stronger communities by involving our students, parents, business leaders and adult volunteers in the lives of our young people, thereby promoting positive relationships among children, youth, families and adults.
- Engage families, schools and diverse community partners in advancing the welfare of our children.
Why should a swim club become an Afterschool Alliance partner?
- Gain public awareness for your swim club
- Create relationships with other community programs
- Create a better relationship with local schools
- Club growth
Lights on Afterschool Events
Every year the Alliance and other supporters take one day to host a celebration called Lights On Afterschool. Next year make sure you are ready to join 7000 other programs in the celebration. Gaining official recognition for what you already do helps to promote your program. Key groups to involve include swim clubs, community programs, the Mayor, the Police Chief and local sports figures. While you can have an event just for your own swim team you might get more attention if you promote all swim clubs in your area.
Here are the Steps to follow to have a successful “Lights On Afterschool” event. The highlight is presentation of proclamations signed by local officials.
- Go to the website of the Afterschool Alliance for basic information.
- Inform team parents as to the benefit of having a proclamation signing event.
- Determine criteria for recognition. (Some examples might be year round programming, diversity of membership or age range of athletes.)
- Connect yourself with community groups that are aligned as Afterschool Programs. Possibilities include the Boys and Girls Club, Junior Achievement and Child and Youth Services. It is important to make the connection between the swim clubs and other afterschool programs.
- Find a place to host your public signing. Make sure everyone involved has an opportunity to have display information about their programs.
- Start drafting the proclamation.
- Contact the individuals you want to sign the proclamation and get their promise to attend.
- Contact the local JC Penny (the corporation that funds many afterschool programs) to receive a proclamation for their contribution.
- Send invitation to participating groups who are going to receive the proclamations. Also send invitations to potential supporters.
- Send press releases to the papers and TV stations. For help contact your mayor’s communication department and ask for assistance.
- Have refreshments to allow for everyone to mingle and interact.
- Stay on top of all details to ensure success!
Please contact Sue Nelson at USA Swimming for additional information. (719-866-4578)