Cultivate Summer Learning

Summer programs in Wyoming inspire young people to explore and learn.

Today’s students need a robust learning environment where they are empowered to realize their full potential. With true collaboration among afterschool and summer programs, schools, and community partners, we can meet the needs of kids and families today—and forge a new future where every child is cared for, included, educated, and inspired.  

Summer programs engage young people in enriching learning experiences that help them gain critical life skills and reach their full potential.  

From hands-on STEM projects and leadership opportunities to solving real-world problems and exploring careers, afterschool and summer programs expose children to new experiences that help them build confidence, teamwork, communication, and other important life skills.  

Why is Summer Learning So Important?

Summer is a time for young people to explore and learn. At the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance, we know that learning happens everywhere. This is especially true in the summertime!

Three Benefits of Summer Programs

  1. Summer is a great time for districts to experiment.
  2. High-quality programs can help re-ignite students’ passion to learn.
  3. Young people are ready for additional challenges and opportunities.

Don’t Miss: “The Evidence Base for Summer Enrichment and Comprehensive Afterschool Opportunities” by Terry K. Peterson, PhD, and Deborah Lowe Vandell, PhD: The Evidence Base for Summer Enrichment and Comprehensive Afterschool Opportunities  

Are you interested in making a difference in your community?

The Wyoming Afterschool Alliance is building a community of young people connected across different ages who are invested in one another through common STEM experiences.

Summer Fellows 2024
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WYAA invites undergraduate students who plan to work or volunteer with Wyoming youth to apply for the Summer STEM Fellows Program. Along with other undergraduates from a range of majors, participants will gain practical experience designing and delivering activities that focus on art, math, creativity, making, and developing an engineering mindset all in a fun and hands-on way. The application deadline is April 4, 2024. Summer programs are encouraged to share this opportunity with their staff and volunteers!

Professional Development: For Summer Programs

Use these tools to help you create the best summer program ever! Develop strategies for engaging staff and volunteers!

Wallace Foundation: Summer Learning Toolkit
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The Wallace Foundation Summer Learning Toolkit provides evidence-based tools and guidance for delivering effective summer programs. During the summer, low-income students lose ground compared to their wealthier peers. But summer can also be a time to help level the playing field through high-quality, summer learning programs that research shows produce measurable benefits in math, reading and social and emotional learning. With more than 50, evidence-based tools and resources—drawn from the work of five urban school districts and their partners, and aligned with research from RAND—the Summer Learning Toolkit helps educators deliver programs that make a real difference.

NSLA: Summer Learning Program Quality Assessment Case Study
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This brief highlights the findings of a program quality assessment from a collaboration between the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) and Spring Forward, a nonprofit based in Rock Island, Illinois, that provides educational and enrichment opportunities at no cost to enhance the lives of families in the community. NSLA encourages organizations to use these findings as not only inspiration but also practical examples for building program sustainability. 

American Camp Association: Training Tool Sheets
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The American Camp Association has created a training tool for summer program directors and counselors. Through a series of tip sheets, ACA helps set priorities for training time by sorting through what needs to be said and understood versus read and understood. It covers everthing from “Facilitation Overview” to “Returning Staff Expectations” and more! 

Get Wild Wyoming: Resources for Nature-Based Education
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The Get Wild Wyoming initiative is a partnership between the Wyoming Department of Education, Wyoming State Parks, Wyoming Game and Fish and the Wyoming Department of Health. It focuses on supporting the overall mental and physical wellness of a child through nature-based education.

Activities: For Summer Programs and Families

Use these vetted activities to engage young people this summer!

Beyond School Bells: Youth Brainstorming Sheet
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Start with this simple exercise to engage the youth in your program in organizing the Best Summer Ever for themselves and their peers.

Innovation Wyrkshop: Two Mobile Maker Crates Available for Summer Learning
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Innovation Wyrkshop, the largest makerspace at the University of Wyoming, is bringing the making to you this summer! The crates are packed with equipment that have been specifically designed to make career and technical education available to every community across Wyoming. Wyrkshop provides curriculum and teaching guides along with engaging and relevant social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum. For more information and to reserve one of the Maker Crates for your summer program, contact Mobile Makerspace Project Coordinator Emily Leinen,

Mizzen by Mott: Summer Camp
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Break out the marshmallows. Dig out the campfire songs. Summer’s just around the corner and so is Mizzen Summer Camp! Designed for out-of-school time practitioners, Mizzen Summer Camp is a must-have digital resource for summer camp and program leaders to supercharge student learning with new lessons on STEM, the arts, music, physical fitness, and youth entrepreneurship.

Outside for 5 Summer Program Resources
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Outdoor learning can help children increase attention, be more motivated to learn, and control impulses more effectively. The Wyoming Alliance for Environmental Education (WyAEE) invites educators to pledge to get Outside for 5 this summer. It’s easy to participate by incorporating an outdoor lesson or activity at least 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Find resources and testimonials from educators across the country on their website, including Tanya McCoy from the Tongue River Valley Community Center

Summer Activity Guide from WYAA
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The Summer Activity Guide is a suite of fun and engaging activities and challenges that are perfect for groups or individuals. Summers are for fun and engaged learning. The Summer Activity Guides were developed to help engage youth with supportive adults in a range of places. The suite activities and challenges will help young people learn and thrive this summer.      

WyomingPBS and Science Kids: NatureWY
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Wyoming PBS partnered with Science Kids in Sheridan to create Nature WY, a digital educational series focused on outdoor science and nature and developed for children 6-8 years old and can be used for all learners! Each episode has an activity guide for use at home and a lesson plan aligned to state and common core standards. Topics in the first season include watersheds, macroinvertebrates, catching insects, becoming a keen observer using all your senses, and insect habitats. The videos are available on this page, at, and on    

You for Youth: Free Professional Learning and Technical Assistance for Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant Programs
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YforY has everything you need to plant the seeds for a successful summer learning program!

Mark Your Calendar for Summer Learning

National Summer Learning Association Helps Make Connections

National Summer Learning Week: July 15-19, 2024
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National Summer Learning Week is a celebration dedicated to elevating the importance of keeping kids learning, safe, and healthy every summer, and ensuring they return to school ready to succeed in the year. Visit the website to find helpful resources, insights on our new themes, and ways you can join the celebration on social media!  

Discover Summer
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NSLA’s Discover Summer is an online destination from the National Summer Learning Association. Our goal is to help your child discover the joy of summer and prepare for a great school year ahead. With the summer search feature, your family can discover summer programs, both in-person and virtual, right in your community. Below, you also have easy access to resources from leading youth organizations to keep the learning going. When we nurture and cultivate a young person’s natural brilliance and curiosity, there are positive ripple effects that last a lifetime.

Mission: The Wyoming Afterschool Alliance is a statewide network working to create the conditions for young people to reach their full potential. We are a priority fund of the Wyoming Community Foundation.


1472 N. 5th Street, Suite 201
Laramie, WY 82072
Phone: 307-721-8300


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