Prime Time’s virtual Afterschool Symposium themed Unmasking Your Potential, Building Systems and Programs Where All Youth Can Thrive was a successful event with more than 250 participants in attendance. The two-day event hosted on Whova, a virtual event application, on May 13-14, 2021, allowed for Palm Beach, Martin counties and beyond to join for networking, professional development workshops, award ceremonies and a special keynote address by Thaddeus Bullard, a.k.a WWE Superstar Titus O’Neil. The goal of the annual symposium was to introduce out-of-school time professionals to ‘best practices’ for implementing high-quality programming and to celebrate their hard work and dedication during the school year. This year’s theme, Unmasking Your Potential, emphasized tapping into the reserves of perseverance and creativity stored within us all as we navigate our new normal and the subsequent migration to a virtual landscape. Workshops included the great need for equity, access and inclusion for all youth in our community and how social-emotional learning (SEL) is vital for school, work and life success. SEL speaks to the important work taking place in afterschool and summer camp settings and to the role that OST practitioners play in enriching the lives of the children they serve. Attendees were presented with innovative methods for positively impacting children and youth in a physically distanced environment.
“ … the role (afterschool professionals) that you all play is ever expanding and more important than ever with all of the things coming at our youth these days.”
-Rick Christie, Executive Editor of The Palm Beach Post, pictured right.
Guest speakers Palm Beach Post Executive Editor Rick Christie welcomed attendees and Palm Beach State College President/CEO Ava Parker congratulated practitioners who received certificates and degrees this past year in youth development, on the first day of this two-day event! Prime Time’s Professional Development Honoree Ceremony recognized afterschool professionals for their educational achievements this past year. Videos and quotes (below) were shown from the certificate and degree recipients acknowledging their achievement and their gratitude for the financial assistance and support they received from Prime Time for making it possible.
Day two of the symposium kicked off with a viewing of Prime Time’s Annual Impact Review video and then moved to workshops. After the workshops concluded, Thaddeus M. Bullard, an accomplished athlete, philanthropist and entertainer as WWE Superstar Titus O’Neil, joined attendees as the keynote speaker. Bullard shared how he went from being a resident of the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches as a troubled, underperforming young man to being a mentor, role model and honorary Deputy for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Bullard’s passion and commitment to not only succeed personally but also to help others succeed is derived from an early seed planted at the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches, where many invested in him when, in his words, “they had nothing to gain in return.”
“I can’t tell you enough how important it is to have strong mentors and safe afterschool programs, not only for the youth, but for the adults who care for them.”
Thaddeus M. Bullard, WWE Superstar Tidus O’Neil
The Afterschool Symposium culminated with the annual Advancing Afterschool Awards, where out-of-school time practitioners had the opportunity to nominate and recognize their peers for their dedication to high-quality programming and commitment to children and youth they serve by submitting nomination forms weeks prior to the awards ceremony. Prime Time surprised award winners by safely hand-delivering plaques. The delivery was filmed and viewed at the event. The video can be viewed here.
About Prime Time Palm Beach County
The mission of Prime Time Palm Beach County, Inc. is to help children and youth succeed by strengthening and expanding quality in the out-of-school time field. Prime Time offers support to OST programs through coaching and assessment for continuous quality improvement, as well as program enrichment through its expanded learning providers. For the individual practitioners, Prime Time offers career advising, training, scholarships and financial incentives to increase the quality of out-of-school time programs in Palm Beach County. www.primetimepbc.org
About the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County
Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, a special district created by Palm Beach County voters, provides leadership, funding and research on behalf of the county’s children so they grow up healthy, safe and strong. www.cscpbc.org www.everyparentpbc.org