Is Your Organization a Haven for Sex Offenders?

September 23, 2011

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

In an era of heated political debates, finger pointing, and all-around disagreement and discontent, it's rare to find something nearly everyone can agree on. Keeping registered sex offenders away from the vulnerable and defenseless, however, is something most folks agree on. Unfortunately, keeping registered sex offenders

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Face It: 75 Reasons You're Getting Old

August 23, 2011

What do Frank Zappa, River Phoenix, Arthur Ashe, and Andre the Giant all have in common? They all died before this year's class of incoming college freshmen were born. And can you believe that Ferris Bueller would now be old enough to be their father?

Times have changed dramatically in the last 18 years. Fortunately, some hard working people in Wisconsin provide the rest of us with a list to let us know just how

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When Not to Quit: Man Revived After 96 Minutes

August 22, 2011

Performing CPR in a life-or-death situation is mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting. I hope this incredible story about a man who was successfully revived - with no resulting brain damage - after 96 minutes provides the extra burst of strength and motivation you may need the next time someone's life is in your hands. While the article primarily focuses on

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10+ Social Media Best Practices for Non-Profits

June 28, 2011

Late in 2010 I wrote about my experiences working with one of our customers on developing a comprehensive social media policy to be used for their summer camp counselors. At the time, social media was on everyone's minds. Well guess what? That hasn't changed... not even a little bit. In fact, just today Google announced it's new social network, Google+.

As more and more people become fully immersed in social networking - and electronic communication in general - it will become increasingly important for organizations to

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Developing a Culture of Safety at Camp - Part 3

April 29, 2011

Effectively teaching or leading a group of peers requires a dynamic personality. The ability to demonstrate a skill is only half of the equation.

If counselors, trainers, supervisors, or coaches lack the skills to effectively communicate instructions, your campers or program participants will be put at risk. As Su Rider of Wesley Woods mentions, a special focus should be placed on

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Who Knows Best: Doctor or Lifeguard?

April 15, 2011

A drowning tragedy that took place in the Bahamas earlier this week is raising questions about the response of the waterpark's lifeguards. We encourage you to read more about the circumstances leading up to the drowning, but in short, an unresponsive five-year-old girl was pulled from the water by a waterpark guest. Another guest, who happened to be a registered nurse, immediately began providing rescue breathing. Shortly thereafter, an emergency room doctor

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3 Trends in Child Abuse Scandals

March 24, 2011

An ex-Boy Scout camp director and YMCA water safety instructor accused of filming and distributing child pornography entered a guilty plea this past Tuesday on three of the seven counts he is facing. Similar accusations have been made against dozens of coaches with USA Swimming in the last year as well. In fact, it seems as if horrifying stories like this are coming from every possible direction: sports teams, churcheshigh schools, and even daycare centers.

While the pain and torment experienced by all of the victims is

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Lifeguard Management Best Practices: Tracking Lifeguard Certifications

January 14, 2011

If you are a lifeguard supervisor or manager, this probably sounds familiar. You supervise a group of lifeguards; some stay with you all year long, while another group only works once college classes are finished. On top of keeping these schedules straight, you also have to hire new lifeguards to replace the ones that decided to move on.

Amongst all of this chaos it is easy to lose sight of one of the most important elements of lifeguarding

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Social Media and Children: Implementing and Enforcing Unpopular Employment Policies

December 16, 2010

Four weeks ago I met with a group of YMCA employees to discuss the implementation of a new social media policy. The question on everyone's mind was, should summer camp counselors be permitted to contact minor campers outside of Y programming? I was so enthralled with the discussion that I decided to blog about it that night. You can read more about that discussion at Social Media and the Children: A Fine Line.

After an hour or so, the meeting ended with no clear resolution; at least one more meeting was going to be necessary. So, we met yesterday. This time, we gave ourselves two hours and agreed we needed to stay focused on coming up with some clearly defined social media policies and procedures. I'm happy to announce that we accomplished that goal rather quickly. The new policy will state something to the effect of

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Social Media and Children: A Fine Line

November 15, 2010

I had the pleasure of meeting with a great group of employees from one of our YMCA partners this afternoon.The group, which included Y summer camp directors and employees in marketing, human resources, and risk management departments, was assembled to assess and update the Y's policies on social media and external communications. I was asked to represent West Bend and share my thoughts on the insurance and liability implications of any new policy decisions.

Ultimately, we wanted to reach a consensus on a single question. Should employees be permitted to communicate with minors outside of the organization's programs? After an hour of listing the pros and cons of a wide variety of ideas, we reached a consensus. The consensus was

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