Ellen Gannett , codirector of the Centers’ National Institute on Out-of-School Time, traveled this fall to New Zealand and Australia, consulting with colleagues and speaking at major gatherings of policymakers and program providers.
On September 18, Gannett gave a talk entitled “The Changing Landscape of Out-of-School Time in the United States” for the Australian Network of Community Activities at the Parliament House in Sydney. The audience included providers of Out-of-School programs, government officials, and community leaders. While in Sydney, she also visited two out-of-school-time programs including one that serves Aboriginal children and their families and focuses on cultural and artistic expression. Later in the week, Gannett delivered the keynote address at the National Out-of-School Care and Recreation Conference in Wellington, New Zealand.
Commenting on her experience, Gannett said, “This trip has strengthened my belief in the importance of multiculturalism in out-of-school time. Both Australians and New Zealanders have a deep respect for the land and traditions of the indigenous Aborigine and Maori cultures. In Wellington, the conference participants were greeted by young people with song, dance, and prayer to give thanks for the opportunity to work hand-in-hand on behalf of families and children. I was deeply moved by these rituals and the revitalization of customs that might have been destroyed were it not for citizens’ commitment to officially reclaim the history of the indigenous people.”