The Synergy Conference 2022 is scheduled to convene utilizing a hybrid model with in-person and virtual attendance options April 19-22, 2022. The in-person conference will be hosted at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, NC. The in-person conference timeline can be viewed here.

This year's conference is themed:

Please note that the Tuesday and Wednesday portion of the conference will consist of the 21st Century Community Learning Center Statewide Meeting only. For those registered attendees that are not a current 21st CCLC program, check-in for the Synergy Conference will begin at 7:30 am on Thursday, April 21, 2022. The virtual portion of the conference will go live on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

Early registration for the Synergy Conference 2022 is now open. Early-Bird registration to attend this year's conference in-person is $200. Registration to attend this year's conference virtually is $50. All in-person attendees will have access to the virtual components of the conference. Early-Bird registration closes on February 9, 2022.

Please note that ALL in-person conference attendees must attest to being fully vaccinated or to having received a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result for COVID-19 within 72 hours of conference attendance. Additionally, ALL in-person conference attendees will be required to wear a mask throughout the duration of the conference with the exception of live plenaries where a meal is served.

The Synergy Conference 2022 has a hotel block at the Sheraton Greensboro at Four Seasons for the discounted rate of $149 per night. Hotel reservations can be made here. Hotel reservations must be made by 5 pm on Friday, April 1, 2022 to obtain the discounted rate. Hotel reservations should be made as soon as possible to secure your room.

To register for the Synergy Conference 2022, please click the button below.

We hope to see you in Greensboro!
The Request for Proposals (RFPs) for workshop presenters and vendors are now open. Workshop strands include Arts & Literacy, Closing Gaps, College & Career Readiness, Organizational Capacity, Public/Private Partnerships, Social & Emotional Learning, S.T.E.M., and Youth Development.
Descriptions for each workshop strand can be viewed on the Workshop, Vendor, and Keynote Speaker RFPs, located on the Synergy Conference 2022 webpage

Workshop and Vendor proposal submissions are due on January 31st, 2022. Keynote Speaker proposal submissions are due on February 18th, 2022.
On December 2, 2021, the NC State Board of Education approved the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) to launch the 21st Community Learning Centers (CCLC) FY22 Competitive Summer Mini-Grant Program for Summer 2022 for any Public School Unit (PSU) or Non-PSU organizations (NPO, CBO, FBO, For-Profit, IHE, City/Local Gov).

The 21st CCLC FY22 Competitive Summer Mini-Grant Program will fund summer programs designed to improve student access to innovative learning strategies in order to achieve grade-level proficiency. In addition, the Program should be designed to engage all students in quality, interactive enrichment opportunities that are multi-disciplinary in approach, broad in offerings, and build connections between academic skills and knowledge and a students' cultural and community contexts.

The competitive grant opportunity will be processed through the CCIP system. Grant amounts will range from $50,000 to $300,000 depending on (1) needs identified in the community and schools; (2) scope of the program; (3) proposed number of students served; and (4) program design. The FY22 Competitive Summer Mini-Grant Program is a short-term grant program. Funds will be available awarded subgrantees from April 11, 2022, through September 1, 2022, with no opportunity for renewal.

Additionally, NC DPI will host a series of technical assistance webinars to support potential subgrantees:

Webinar 1: CCIP Introduction and Training *REQUIRED for New Users*
January 4, 2022 from 10am - 12pm

Webinar 2: Overview of RFP and How to Apply
January 5, 2022 from 10am - 12pm

Webinar 3: Application Guidance and Rubric Overview
January 6, 2022 from 10am - 12pm

All technical assistance webinars will be recorded and posted to the 21st CCLC NC DPI webpage.

For questions regarding the 21st CCLC FY22 COmpetitive Summer Mini-Grant Program, please contact Susan Brigman at or Megan Orleans at
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) is seeking to highlight youth and parent voices at the Synergy Conference 2022. Each panel will be conducted virtually and pre-recorded for attendees. All panelists will be provided with a list of questions prior to the recording of the panels.

Nominations for youth and parent panelists are due on February 9th, 2022.
NC is seeking youth panelists to discuss the value of their out-of-school time program on their lives. Panelists should be active or recently graduated participants of an out-of-school time program in NC. Youth panelists can be between the ages of five (5) and twenty (20) years old. Selected youth will be awarded a gift card for their contribution to the Synergy Conference 2022.
According to the America After 3 pm Report, North Carolina ranked #1 in parent satisfaction. NC CAP would like to showcase their voices, experiences, and perspectives of NC out-of-school time programs. Panelists should have children enrolled in an out-of-school time program in NC. Selected parents will be awarded a gift card for their contribution to the Synergy Conference 2022.
Afterschool and summer programs are invaluable resources in rural communities, with the ability to tailor their services and supports to local circumstances and specific needs of the children and families they serve.

Building off findings from the previous 2009 and 2014 America After 3 PM studies, "Spiking Demand, Growing Barriers: The Trends Shaping Afterschool and Summer Learning in Rural Communities" investigates whether the afterschool and summer landscape in rural communities has changed over time, compares and contrasts rural parents' perceptions of afterschool programs now and then, and discusses what lessons can be drawn from the findings to help increase access to afterschool and summer programs in rural communities.

Here are four top takeaways:

  • Rural communities see a sharp rise in unmet demand for afterschool and summer programs.
  • Unmet demand in rural communities is higher than ever: There are now 4.5 million children in rural communities who are not in an afterschool program but would be enrolled if a program were available - a 43 percent increase from 2014. During Summer 2019, 2.9 million children not in a summer program would have been enrolled if one were available to them. For every rural child in a summer learning program, two more would be enrolled if a program were available.
  • Roadblocks to access prevent rural kids from attending afterschool and summer programs
  • Reports of barriers to afterschool program participation have increased by double-digit percentage points since 2014, including the cost of programs, children not having a safe way to and from the afterschool program, inconvenient program locations, and the lack of available programs in the community. During the summer months, the availability and accessibility of programs remain barriers that rural parents face when looking for a structured summer experience for their children.
  • Inequities exist
  • In rural communities, unmet demand and barriers to participation are greater among communities of color and families with low incomes.
  • Rural parents see the benefits, and support afterschool and summer learning access for all youth
  • For families with access to afterschool and summer learning programs, more than 9 in 10 rural parents report satisfaction with their child's program. Eighty-three percent of parents agree that all young people deserve access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs. Additionally, 86 percent of rural parents support public funding for afterschool and summer learning opportunities.

Afterschool and summer learning programs offer unique benefits to kids across the country, but millions are missing out.
To access the report, click here.
The NC Center for Afterschool Programs is accepting nominations for the 2022 Afterschool Champions. Nominees should demonstrate outstanding work in developing, supporting, and promoting high-quality afterschool and out-of-school time programs to benefit youth and families statewide.

Afterschool Champion Award categories are below, followed by the nomination form. The deadline to submit nominations is February 28, 2022. Selected award recipients will be recognized during the in-person award ceremony at the Synergy Conference 2022 on April 21st, 2022.

This award spotlights an individual, program, or organization whose life or mission has demonstrated outstanding work in developing, supporting, and promoting high-quality afterschool and out-of-school time programs to benefit youth and families. Nominees should have more than ten (10) years of experience.

This award spotlights an individual, program, or organization whose life or mission has demonstrated considerable work in developing, supporting, and promoting high-quality afterschool and out-of-school time programs to benefit youth and families. Nominees should have between three (3) and ten (10) years of experience.

A letter of recommendation or support should accompany every nomination.
**Note: For a program nomination, a letter of support must be from a youth program participant or parent.

Summer is a period of opportunity and concern when it comes to children and youth. However, a new report from the RAND Corporation commissioned by The Wallace Foundation shows that collaboration among community stakeholders can help identify and prioritize high-quality summer programming. The report, which focuses on the experiences of four cities, demonstrates that building successful summer networks requires a shared vision, strong leadership, coordinated action, funding for sustainability, and diagnostic data. The progress made and lessons learned in Boston, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C. can serve as a roadmap for communities across the country.

Successful networks for summer opportunities for children and youth share five qualities:
  1. Shared vision
  2. Strong leadership
  3. Coordinated action
  4. Funding
  5. Diagnostic Data
To learn more about the report, click here.
The stakes are high! As afterschool professionals and leaders, you are equipping yourself or others to prepare young people for a world we can only imagine. Come share your ideas and explore innovative and proven practices. Challenge yourself to explore new perspectives, make key connections, and build lasting relationships that will strengthen the afterschool field and profession. Are you ready to go all-in?
To register, click here.

To learn more about the 2022 NAA Convention, click here.
Nominations Each year, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) recognizes programs that provide high-quality summer learning opportunities to young people in communities across the nation. Program candidates for the Summer Learning Awards demonstrate excellence in accelerating academic achievement and promoting healthy development for low-income children and youth between pre-kindergarten and twelfth grade.

Think your program has what it takes to be recognized as a national leader/ Apply today! Applications must be submitted by January 7, 2022, at 6:00 pm EST.

To submit an application, please click here.
NC CAP has partnered with Afterschool Coaching for Reflective Educators in STEM (ACRES) to provide FREE professional development opportunities to out-of-school-time professionals statewide. The ACRES Project supports out-of-school providers in rural settings. Each participant is expected to participate in three live sessions for each cohort is an active member. Stipends are offered to participants that complete pre-and-post surveys.

Questions are the beginning of a path towards discovery, imagination, and STEM exploration. How can we help youth expand and clarify their thinking and develop their reasoning through the questions we ask them? This module is designed for educators who have experience facilitating STEM learning and would like to grow in their practice within a supportive group of other educators.

Session Dates
January 6, 2022 - 10 am to 12 pm EST
February 9, 2022 - 10 am to 12 pm EST
March 2, 2022 - 10 am to 12 pm EST

To register, click here.
Cohort Code: AC104PQ
To learn more about this opportunity, click here.
We will gather together in person for the first time in two years as a conference community. We stand together to address the pandemic, natural disasters, and other crises that challenge our communities. And it is with youth and adults working together that we will change the world through service-learning.

Whether you are a teacher, administrator, afterschool program coordinator, university faculty member, foundation program officer, or a youth leader, the National Service-Learning Conference is designed for you. With four days of inspiration, learning, connection, and action, youth and adults can create an individualized agenda for an incredible professional development experience.

Established in 1987, the National Service-Learning Conference has brought together more than 30,000 youth and adults from across the United States and beyond. The conference connects participants with educational leaders through three days of engaged learning sessions and hands-on projects. 2020 and 2021 Conferences were held virtually. In 2022, NYLC will combine the 3-day in-person format with a virtual day.

To learn more about the 33rd National Service-Learning Conference NAA, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) and the National Afterschool Association have updated the Core Knowledge, Skills, and Competencies for Afterschool and Youth Development Professionals.

All professional entities share common characteristics. Among them are a body of knowledge, skills, culture, code of ethics, and public recognition. The Core Knowledge and Competencies enable afterschool and youth development practitioners to demonstrate expertise and gain a higher level of recognition within their communities that has long been sought after.

To access the Core Knowledge and Competencies, click here.
With the COVID-19 vaccine recommended by the CDC for everyone aged 5 and older, afterschool programs are positioned to help their communities' young people access vaccines. The U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, has traveled to various schools, including afterschool programs, to underscore the importance of vaccinating our most newly eligible students.

As trusted voices in the community, afterschool programs can ensure that parents have the information they need about vaccine safety and access. Examples like the Hawai'i Afterschool Alliance's efforts to promote vaccine confidence and health literacy among staff and community leaders, or the Alaska Children's Trust's webinar on vaccine safety for parents, provide a window into how organizations can get involved. Programs can also partner with school districts and other community partners to support vaccine clinics, like the Socorro American Federation of Teachers, who gave away books to children ages five and up during the local school's vaccine clinic.

To continue reading, click here.

The New York Life Foundation is seeking applications for $1,800,000 in grants to afterschool, summer, or expanded learning programs serving underserved middle-school youth. This is the sixth year of the Foundation's Aim High grant competition, and the Foundation has increased the total number of grants available in order to support more programs than ever before. This year's awards will bring the total amount awarded to $7.95 million!

In this grant cycle, 40 programs will be selected for grants, based on their ability to help youth prepare for high school and life by providing academic, social, and emotional supports to youth. Programs may apply to one of three grant categories:

  • $100,000 Level
  • Ten (10) grants of $50,000 per year over two years (for a total award of $100,000) will go to OST programs with annual budgets of $250,000 or more and annual organizational budgets of $500,000 or more.
  • $50, 000 Level
  • Ten (10) grants of $25,000 per year over two years (for a total award of $50,000) will go to OST programs with annual organizational budgets of $250,000 or more.
  • $15,000 Level
  • Twenty (20) awards of $15,000 over one year will go to OST programs with annual organizational budgets of $150,000 or more with a focus on supporting programs in their efforts around advancing racial equity and social justice.

For all three tiers, grant funds may be used for technical assistance, enhancing direct service activities, and/or program expansion. All applicants will need to describe how programs support youth in the transition to the ninth grade, as well as how they are continuing to serve youth still being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two-year grant applications will need to demonstrate results around indicators of success such as on-time promotion; school attendance rates; improved behavior; grades and test scores; and/or the development of social and emotional skills. One-year grant applicants will need to describe how they intend to improve the supports they provide to youth related to social justice and racial equity efforts.

The New York Life Foundation invests in middle school OST programs to help disadvantaged middle school youth get to high school on time and on track. Research has shown that for disadvantaged students, more learning time in the form of high-quality afterschool, expanded-day, and summer programs leads to greater achievement, better school attendance, and more engaged students.

Since 2013, the Foundation has invested more than $45 million in national middle school OST efforts The Aim High grants provide a way for the Foundation to support smaller programs in communities across the nation. The Afterschool Alliance is administering the grant application process on behalf of the Foundation. A panel of external reviewers will assess applicants. Awardees will be notified by June 2022.

Applications are due February 1, 2022, at 5 pm EST. To view the full RFP and submit your application, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) would like to highlight program successes statewide. Tell us about your program and you might be our Program Spotlight in the next edition of the Afterschool Observer or on Social Media. Click the Program Spotlight below to be redirected to the updated survey link to tell us about your program. 
The Afterschool Advantage (ASA) program is IGT's flagship community initiative, devoted to providing young people with access to technology in a safe, nurturing afterschool environment while promoting opportunities in digital learning centers in communities where IGT operates. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The goal of these grants is to: empower youth by providing hands-on environmental stewardship opportunities, inspire youth and communities to become agents of change for their environment, serve as a catalyst for education that uses the environment as a context for applied and STEM learning. Applications are due on January 15th, 2022.

The Coca-Cola Foundation provides grants to a wide variety of 501(c)(3) organizations that focus on children, education, and/or health. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Discover is offering grants of up to $5,000 to nonprofit organizations working in the areas of education and literacy. Funding, donations, and sponsorships are intended to support programs and initiatives that meet the needs of various communities across the country, with a particular focus on communities where Discover employees live and work. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Duke Energy Foundation is committed to making strategic investments to build powerful communities where nature and wildlife thrive, youth can excel, and a talented workforce drives economic prosperity for all. These grants support programs that prevent summer reading loss, while also advancing energy, engineering, and environmental education. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Saxena Family Foundation is a privately funded, 501(c)(3) registered non-profit charitable foundation headquartered in Austin, TX. The Foundation awards grants and supports programs that have a particular focus on STEM education and around empowering women in the United States and in India. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Youth Service America (YSA) is providing grants up to $500 to support youth leaders ages 5 to 25 across the United States to turn their ideas into action and make an impact on the issue of childhood hunger. Applications are due January 21, 2022.

Your Voice is Power provides students and teachers an introduction to computer science through a real-world exploration of how music, computer science, and entrepreneurship can be tools to advance racial justice. Amazon Future Engineer is providing students with a chance to create an original remix of various songs by recording artists such as Pharell Williams, Alicia Keys, and Khalid using coding. Applications for Round One closes on February 7th, 2022. Applications for Round Two closes on June 19th, 2022.
North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs |