Monday, June 3, 2024

Survey Results Point to a Summer of Learning and Engagement Ahead for Young People

Source: Afterschool Alliance

By Guest Blogger Nikki Yamashiro. This was originally posted by Afterschool Alliance on the Afterschool Snack Blog.

As the temperature starts to rise, and in D.C., we start to feel the familiar humidity creep into the air, one’s thoughts can’t help but turn to summer—and for those of us at the Afterschool Alliance, that includes thinking about what the state of summer programming will look like. If this upcoming summer is anything like the last, we anticipate summer programs to be open and ready to provide fun, academically enriching, and hands-on learning opportunities for their students.

Based on a survey of 989 summer program providers conducted late last year—October 31 through December 5, 2023—more than 9 in 10 (96 percent) reported that they offered programming during the 2023 summer, similar to the number of providers reporting that they offered programming during the 2022 summer (96 percent), and up from the summers of 2021 (88 percent) and 2020 (79 percent). Additionally, nearly 1 in 3 programs (32 percent) said that they expanded their summer program to serve more children and 1 in 10 (11 percent) were able to offer summer programs at more sites than in the past. When asked about the type of activities offered, nearly 3 in 10 summer program providers said that they placed a greater focus on ensuring a balance of academic and enrichment activities for their young people (28 percent) and were more intentionally focusing on students’ holistic needs and supporting their overall well-being (27 percent).  

However, providing summer programming wasn’t without its challenges. Forty-four percent of summer program providers said that there was a waitlist for their program, although down slightly from the 48 percent of summer providers who reported a waitlist for their 2022 summer program. Additionally, 62 percent of summer providers said that they were concerned about their ability to meet the demand from families.

Summer providers’ level of concern about staffing their program may help shed some light on the issue of waitlists, with three-quarters of providers (75 percent) concerned about being able to hire enough staff for their summer programming, including half (50 percent) who said that they were extremely or very concerned. Summer program providers’ concerns over staffing mirrors concerns afterschool program providers reported about their fall programming, where 81 percent reported concerns about finding staff, retaining staff, or both. 

Looking ahead, nearly three-quarters of summer program providers (74 percent) said that they felt optimistic about the future of their program, which also bodes well for this upcoming summer. To see the full survey findings, visit our Afterschool Program Provider Survey page. If you are a provider looking for ideas, tools, or resources for your summer program, National Summer Learning Association’s Summer Planning Bootcamp webinar series is available now to watch recordings of the two day event. The Wallace Foundation’s Summer Learning Toolkit is another valuable resource, where you can find a planning calendar, sample job descriptions and staff handbooks, facilitation guides, sustainability tools, and more to help you bring your best summer program forward for your students and families.


Nikki Yamashiro 
joined the Afterschool Alliance in June 2012. In her current role, Nikki coordinates, manages, and advances the Afterschool Alliance’s research efforts, including developing the organization's research goals and agenda and effectively communicating findings on afterschool and summer programs to policy makers, afterschool providers, advocates, and the public.

The Afterschool Alliance
is a national organization that works to ensure that all youth have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs by engaging public will to increase public and private investment in afterschool program initiatives at the national, state, and local levels.

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