Blast Off Week 2018

As the summer comes to a close, all AYS employees have gathered together to prepare for the upcoming school year. At the annual Blast Off conference, AYS employees prepped for the school year through meetings and breakout sessions regarding topics in child development, safety, and leadership.

The first day kicked off with a speech from President/CEO Chrystal Struben. She spoke about the importance of the conference, and the week’s theme: Being Intentional. This idea carried on throughout discussions for the duration of the week. After a presentation on maintaining relationships through appreciation and communication, the Employee Recognition Committee presented awards to those celebrating anniversaries with AYS, including two staff members who reached their 25th anniversary with AYS this past year- Program Assistant Mary Cross and IT Coordinator Beth Koenen-Seelbach.

After a break for lunch, former pro-athlete and owner of Open Gym, Jennifer Magley, presented the keynote address. Once again digging into the topic of being intentional, Magley spoke about having passion for what you do and working with intention to improve your business and achieve your dreams. Citing that the things preventing you from achieving your dreams are also the things that can push you to achieve them, Magley stirred the crowd with wit, wisdom, and humor. Her words inspired listeners and her message served as motivation for the rest of the week. Learn more about Jennifer on her professional website: www.magleyjennifer.com

The rest of the conference consisted of more breakout sessions, including a day dedicated to the program directors, filled with presentations on curriculum design, the expectations for all AYS employees, and data security. The remainder of the conference focused on all program staff with more information on caring for children, the implementation of educational programs like STEM, tools to cope with behavioral issues, bullying, and information on enrollment and financial assistance.

The conference concluded on Friday, with another full day of seminars for all AYS staff. The presentations ranged in topics from literacy strategies to ideas for physical activities and group games. The last moments of the conference were used by each site’s team to review what they learned from the week and begin to prepare for the upcoming year.

Blast Off is a great way for everyone to come together, celebrate the past year’s accomplishments, and plan for many more achievements in the future. Full of interesting and important presentations, Blast Off ensures all AYS staff can feel prepped and ready to provide meaningful programming for students.


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