The National AfterSchool Association is the leading voice of the afterschool profession dedicated to development, education, and care of children and youth during their out of school hours.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tough Decisions

Paul G. Young
President & CEO
Most of us are following the tough decisions being made by legislators in state houses and Capitol Hill in response to our nation’s fiscal crisis.  No doubt these are tough times.  They require that tough decisions be made. We are preparing for the fallout that is certain to come.  Spending will be curbed, like it or not, and many of us will feel the effects in our afterschool programs and association budgets. But we've ridden through these lean budget cycles before and likely will do so again. Now, more than ever, it is important to stay connected, share ideas, think creatively, learn, and support each other. Thank you for your continued membership with NAA and our affiliate organizations.

Despite the fiscal crises in most of our states, our work must go on. We have children to encourage, inspire, teach,  and care for.  We will all creatively figure out ways to fulfill our purpose and do more with less. Our kids need us, and they need to see examples of adult competence, creativity, collaboration, and collective confidence with resolve to persevere through the tough times.

NAA is feeling the pinch. Yet, thanks to your membership dollars and support of our national convention, we continue to ride the turbulent waves and move forward. We operate from an optimistic entrepreneurial awareness that oppressive times lead to shifts in power, new alliances, yet present the promise of something better. The strength of our profession has grown over the past decade due in large part to the support and services provided by our affiliate organizations. With increased commitment to professionalize, we continue to attract attention of practitioners, parents, and activists and grow. We need each other more than ever. We must keep learning, growing, and connecting to come out of these tough times prepared to do business and serve our members in better ways.

We will all make tough decisions in the coming months. Some things will change. Some will not.  Through it all, we must lead. Kids and their families still need us. We need them. We need each other. Together, we will find creative ways to persevere. Creating is all about problem solving.

I've always encouraged my staffs to bring solutions to the problems they identify. I never appreciated working with whiners. When given the chance to be heard, I've learned that those closest to the problem often had the best solutions. I want to associate with and listen to winners rather than whiners. So, if we put our heads together, suck it up for the further belt tightening that is sure to come, and adapt and readjust for the future, we will emerge this period of fiscal crisis with the ability to do business even better. Afterschool will be better.

Don't let the tough times and the tough decisions you have to make get you down. We will support each other, create, and share ideas in Orlando. And, we will feel better afterwards!

And hopefully, someone will say or do something during your interactions and conversations that will spark your creativity in ways you had never dreamed and help you (and all of us as connected professionals) become the winners we all want to be.

See you in Orlando where we will continue this important discussion.

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