Free Webinar: Social Media Marketing for YMCAs

November 08, 2012

Last week, I had the great pleasure of attending the Michigan YMCA Key Leaders Conference in Lansing, Michigan. In addition to joining several of my fellow West Bend associates as exhibitors, I was asked to join in on a panel discussion regarding new technology topics that are relevant to

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Does that Lifeguard Belong on the Pool Deck?

August 15, 2012

Imagine that your pool experiences the worst-case scenario... a drowning. In addition to grieving family members, distraught lifeguards, and a devastated community, you're also be flooded with attention by lawyers and media outlets. In all of this chaos, how much energy do you think you'll be able to dedicate to compiling the paperwork that may make or break the future of

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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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Counselor Training Prevents Tornado Disaster

June 10, 2011

Tornadoes have been dominating the news as of late... and for good reason. According to data from the National Weather Service, more than 500 people have been killed by tornadoes in 13 different states already this year. Before-and-after photos from Joplin, Missouri show the unimaginable power of a tornado.

With so many sad stories so far in this storm season, we're happy to share a tornado story from one of our customers that ended with a group of

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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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Developing a Culture of Safety at Camp - Part 2

April 14, 2011

Third-Party Certification Orgs

Summer camps and other youth-focused organizations work closely with several reputable organizations to help with certification and training. The American Red Cross, for example, has trained thousands of waterfront lifeguards, the American Camp Association works closely with summer camps across the country, and the YMCA of USA is an excellent resource for additional training for Y-affiliated camps.

We continue our four-part blog series, Developing a Culture of Safety at Camp, with another excerpt from

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Developing a Culture of Safety at Camp - Part 1

April 12, 2011

It’s time to increase the investment in your staff. And no… we’re not talking about 401ks or health plans.

Our new four part blog series, Developing a Culture of Safety at Camp, is all about investing more time and resources in regards to training your staff. Over the last two years, Midwestern summer camps have struggled with high frequency and severity in worker’s compensation and liability claims. One overarching factor in this trend was a

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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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Lifeguard Commandment Spotlight: Constant Communication

October 10, 2010

If you haven't already done so, please check out the latest installment in our Lifeguard Commandment video series on YouTube.

Inform other lifeguards and supervisors of weak or problematic swimmers.

With only a few short minutes to present a topic, some of our Lifeguard Commandment Videos may ultimately present more questions than answers.  Fortunately, we have this blog and the collective wisdom of an entire staff of aquatic safety experts from

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