The Vision

The Future of Universal Afterschool and Summer in Vermont 

Through universal afterschool and summer, Vermont has the unprecedented opportunity to ensure every youth who wants to attend an afterschool and summer program in our state has the opportunity to do so. 

A universal afterschool and summer model is a solution for all kids, all families, and all communities across our state. Every young person will know they have a place to go after school and over the summer, and every Vermont parent or caregiver will know their kids are safe and cared for when they can’t be at home. Youth will be able to pursue their career aspirations, build protective factors, develop workforce and life skills, and receive academic support. 

By building this system, every young person in every community will know that we believe that young people make a better Vermont. By 2025, Vermont will be well on its way to ensuring that youth and families who want to participate in high-quality afterschool and summer programming are able to do so because programs will be universally available, accessible, and affordable.


The universal afterschool and summer model will create a bigger, bolder system of support and opportunity for all children, youth, families, and communities across Vermont. Our success is built on the leadership and hard work of hundreds of advocates, program providers, state agencies and policymakers who understand that a commitment to Vermont’s young people makes a better Vermont.


We are going to build a sustainable, fully funded universal afterschool and summer system by 2025. To get there, we’re taking a multi-year approach, using current funding sources as a bridge. We’ve identified six keys to success: Commitment, Collaboration, Coordination, Improving Program Quality and Data Systems, Reaching Youth and Families, and Sustainable Funding. 


As we continue to work to address needs created or worsened by the pandemic, afterschool and summer programs offer important opportunities for Vermont’s children and youth to engage, connect, and heal. They provide more time for learning and growth and allow children and youth to explore interests, build skills, and have valuable experiences. Afterschool and summer programs also help working families and play an important role in our communities.


Nothing is more critical to this effort than hearing from young people about what they most want and need in afterschool programs and summer opportunities. That’s why Vermont Afterschool’s State Youth Advisory Group has designed the Vermont Youth Vision Board to hear directly from young people across Vermont about what life is like for youth in their communities right now, what programs and opportunities they would like to see afterschool and over the summer, and what other resources and supports would really make a difference. Check out some of the youth stories being collected from young people across Vermont


In order to build a strong, sustainable universal afterschool and summer system we need to hear from many voices- parents and families, youth, program providers, state partners, advocacy organizations, educators, diversity groups, businesses and employers, community leaders, policy makers, and more. Get involved in the Spring 2022 Listening Tour or check out other ways to be involved. 


Vermont Afterschool is proud to be working again with Governor Phil Scott’s office, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ office, and the Vermont Agency of Education to establish the 2022–2023 Afterschool & Summer Expanding Access Grant Program. We anticipate that $4.25 million will be available through competitive grants to expand access to and improve the quality of summer enrichment opportunities and afterschool programming for children and youth statewide.

Our vision is bold. The universal afterschool and summer model will require strong, public-private partnerships among the state, schools, businesses, nonprofits, and program providers. We embrace our collective responsibility to ensure that all Vermont youth are safe, healthy, supported, educated, and engaged. We’re up for the challenge. Together, we are forging futures with Vermont youth.