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  • Writer's pictureAlex Martin

End of 2023 Year-in-Review

by Alex Martin, Executive Director


SSC at Crater Lake, Oregon on October 14, 2023, in hopes of catching the Annular Solar Eclipse from this majestic location


2023 is at an end, marking 5.5 years of Sidewalk Science Center. We've seen a rise in engagement, more revenue coming through, and more private events than we've had in any year prior. Let's take a look back at 2023 and see how we've grown.


Employees

Board Members: 3

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# Volunteers December 2022: 0

# Volunteers December 2023: 4

+4

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# Contracted Educators December 2022: 0

# Contracted Educators December 2023: 9

+9


Events

Free SSCs in 2022: 41

Free SSCs in 2023: 75

+34

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Private Events in 2022: 24

Private Events 2023: 70

+46


Participants

Participants in 2022: 7,053 people

Participants in 2023: 14,643 people

+7,590 people

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Participants since the creation of Sidewalk Science Center in July 2018:

66,536 people




When compared with the stats of 2022, SSC clearly grew in 2023. There are still many tweaks and balances to be made, but the fact that we're beginning to regularly provide multiple private events on the same dates has been a strong indicator of our growth. Coupled with being able to host events without me (Alex Martin) attending them is a huge sign that many of our educators and handling their own and able to provide successful events without my direct involvement, a goal I've had for about two years now as administrative duties have crossed the peripheral of my primary focus.


On the other hand, private events heavily outweighed free SSCs in the second half of 2023 (showing that we chugged away at free SSCs in the first half) on a nearly 10-to-1 ratio. Private events are excellent, and we already have more than two dozen scheduled into 2024, but regaining balance between free SSCs and private events will be key to the successful implementation of our mission to provide regular and reliable access to educational tools and resources in public spaces.


Refocusing on that mission will be fundamental to our goals moving into 2024. We will strive to host at least 4 free SSCs each month, and are actively seeking a volunteer coordinator(s) who will communicate will volunteers, arrange regular SSCs, and implement a minimum of 4 SSCs per month. Our goal in the years ahead is to recruit coordinators for each city, rather than one or two working over a general spread.


Until this year, I was maintaining 3-5 SSCs a week most weeks of every year (minus our three hiatuses), but I absolutely do not expect any single educator to maintain that same level of rigor. While I would love to personally uphold that, I simply cannot at this time between the number of private events we have these days, the amount of behind-the-scenes administrative work I'm handling, and, of course, needing to avoid burning out at my other job.


Between free and private events, however, hitting 145 events in 2023 was monumental. Prior to 2023, we only broke 100+ SSCs in 2020 and 2021 (124 and 121 sessions, respectively). For the Sarasota/Bradenton areas, working back up to maintaining 100 free SSCs per year in the next 2-3 years seems an attainable goal, and working up to 100 private events per year in the next 1-2 years seems to also be achievable. Case-in-point: for the current 2023-24 winter astronomy season, we are on track for 75 private events).


Know that we are out here every single week bringing free and low-cost science education experiences to more people on a regular basis than ever before. Our supporters on Patreon and through our fundraisers on Donorbox are appreciated to no end. This type of support covers many of the monthly operational costs we have, and allows us to run SSC, promote our experiences on Facebook and other outlets, and put ourselves out there for the world to visit every week.


2024 is here. We'll see you on the sidewalk.


Science. Everywhere.


To all our endeavors,

Alex Martin, Executive Director

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