Written By: Elizabeth Anderson, with edits by Sebastian Pruett

Happy Women’s History Month! To start things off, we want to share a little bit about a woman who is very important to us and the work of the NC Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP). That’s right, it’s our very own NC CAP Director, Elizabeth Anderson! Below, Elizabeth shares some of her experiences in the afterschool/out-of-school time field and what she’s learned:

“I began my career in afterschool, summer, and expanded learning 24 years ago at age 15 as a camp counselor in Western, NC, and have worked in afterschool and expanded learning in some capacity ever since. My first job out of college was in the Education Department at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, NM, where I taught art and led leadership and life skills activities for girls. Not long after, I got a job running my first afterschool program and summer camp with Girls Incorporated of Santa Fe, New Mexico and the rest is history!

I’ve led afterschool programs in public schools and community centers, created afterschool tutoring and mentorship programs, taught art and coached sports, and even built a summer camp from the ground up – I love every aspect of out-of-school time learning. But what I have loved the most about my career in afterschool and expanded learning are the deep relationships I have gotten to develop with students, families, and youth development professionals.

Afterschool provides a really different sort of environment where kids can be vulnerable, learn to take healthy risks, and develop their unique identities surrounded by trusted adults. That is such a special thing, and I feel lucky to have been honored with the trust of so many kids, parents, and afterschool staff over the years. One of the most important things I’ve learned from my career in the afterschool field is to be flexible – and prepared! No day ever goes quite like you expect it to in this field – that holds true even now that I am at the helm of the State Network in North Carolina. I’ve learned to expect anything, and be ready for anything.”

Check out the gallery below to see highlights of Elizabeth’s afterschool work!

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