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A Lot Can Happen in 30 Years!

Where were you in the spring of 1987? Working? High School? Elementary School? Pre-school? Were you even born in 1987?

That spring, two women sat at a kitchen table discussing the need for summer educational programs that would put fun and adventure into learning. From that kitchen table meeting, Jan Dutton (left) and Barb Hoppe Johnson (center) created Bright Lights. The following year Kathy Hanrath (right) was hired as executive director. The summer of 1987 was the first program year and offered 27 classes.

The goal of our organization has always been to encourage students to experiment, explore, and imagine beyond the traditional classroom. From the beginning, the teaching focus was hands-on activities that gave students opportunities to learn, invent, create and make new friends.

This summer will be the 30th summer of Bright Lights program! A lot has happened in 30 years of Bright Lights. We have grown to more than 125 half-day and full-day camps, we employ around 100 teachers every summer and we involve more than 250 volunteer classroom assistants (mostly high school students).

Part of our 30th year celebration is telling the story of Bright Lights to the community and thanking those who are special to us. Without our friends, granting foundations, and businesses, we would not be able to continue growing the summer adventures for Lincoln-area children. We are grateful to everyone who helped us during the first 29 years and are proud to begin our 30th year providing unique learning opportunities.

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