Dane Dances will celebrate the work of Madison Out-of-School Time (MOST) and all Out-of-School Time professionals at their last dance of the year on Friday, Aug. 31 on the rooftop of the Monona Community and Convention Center in downtown Madison.
MOST is a partnership between the City of Madison, Dane County, Madison Metropolitan School District and over 45 area youth-serving organizations with a simple goal: connect children and teens with high-quality programs during their out-of-school time to support healthy development and high achievement.
“The idea for MOST started back in 2012 as a partnership between the City, the school district and dozens of out-of-school providers who are at the table who were really asking the same questions,” Nathan Beck, MOST Coordinator for the City of Madison and the Madison Metropolitan School District, tells Madison365. “There’s such a richness in resources for Madison for young people but no real way of making sense of the sector as a whole. There are 150 organizations that serve 16,000 kids with 4,000 employees and it was hard for us to answer basic questions.”
Those 4,000 different Out-of-School Time staff members across Madison serve a vital role supporting young people in Madison by making opportunities accessible for all children to learn how to code, garden and grow their own food, create art, learn how to golf and play other organized sports, receive tutoring and mentoring, and build diverse relationships in the community. MOST officially launched in June 2016 with a one-stop-shop program finder on their website.
Dane Dances is one Madison’s most diverse summertime events bringing together people of all ages, races, and ethnicities that is held every Friday in August on the Monona Terrace Rooftop. The Aug. 31 Dane Dances will recognize the Out-of-School staff for the behind-the-scenes work they do in the Madison community.
“They don’t always get very much recognition for the essential work that they do,” Beck says. “This is an opportunity to really show our appreciation and let them know how much our city relies upon the work that they do.”
The Dane Dances celebration comes at the end of a full-day conference for Out-of-School Time staff hosted at the Overture Center and the Central Library where keynote Bianca J Baldridge will share how Out-of-School Time Organizations can play a central role creating vibrant, just cities where opportunities are distributed equally.
“Dane Dances was a natural fit. They are already going to be right there downtown. We really want to recognize the contributions they make and get as many people to Dane Dances as possible,” Beck says. [Dane Dances Board President] Al Cooper will make a presentation and present a certificate to MOST before the 8 p.m. band and will say a couple words. We are really looking forward to it … it should be a lot of fun.”