Staffing, Safety, Society Podcast

You can’t have safety for all without adequate and engaged staffing. And yet safety for all is exactly what an increasingly distrustful society now expects—just as the labor market is tighter than it has been in decades.

In our new podcast, Redwoods’ leadership will be discussing the connections between these themes.

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Staffing, Safety, Society Episodes

Season 2

Episode 10: A Community-Centered Approach to Behavioral Health
It’s no secret that mental, social, and emotional health is a hot topic for society right now. And yet there continue to be far too many barriers to access when it comes to behavioral healthcare. As Director of Emotional Well-Being for the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County, Erica Kelsey is working to remove those barriers.

In the final episode of Season 2 of our Staffing, Safety, Society podcast, we talk to Erica about her efforts.

Whether it’s through Club-wide mental health screening and education services, staff-focused counseling and support, or targeted early interventions for youth most at risk, Erica’s work offers pathways and insights for how community-based nonprofits can offer an innovative, proactive alternative to traditional healthcare settings.

Episode 9: A New Model for a New Normal
In the 2023 camp season, Terri Mulks and her team at Camp Susan Curtis sent 43 campers home, a number that was about 400% above their baseline rate. And this appears to be a phenomenon that was mirrored in other camps all across the country. In our latest episode of Staffing, Safety, Society, we talk to Terri about what has changed since the pandemic. She also shares how she has used data to better illuminate both the nature and scope of the problem. And she points us toward some of the potential solutions that she and her team have implemented.

From tighter supervision ratios to raising the age at which children are considered eligible for camp, Terri is clear about her goal: To make sure that such high rates of exclusion do not become the norm moving forward, and to ensure that every camper gets a chance at the incredible experience they deserve.

Episode 8: The Power of Camp: A Conversation with Tom Rosenberg
In our latest episode of Staffing, Safety, Society we talk to Tom Rosenberg, President and CEO of the American Camp Association. He tells us about his vision for camp as a positive force for young people’s mental, emotional, and social health, and as an antidote to some of the negative impacts of our online world. We explore why camp is such a powerful force in the societal battle against the tides of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and social disconnection affecting today’s youth. And he provides some guidance for ways that camps can teach the mindsets, skills, and dispositions everyone needs to thrive in school, work, and life.

Episode 7: Gun Violence Prevention, Beyond the Politics
According to the CDC, gun deaths are now the leading cause of death for children. But how can we protect young people when the very mention of guns elicits polarized, highly entrenched points of view? Lucria Ortiz knows more than most on this subject. She serves as the President and CEO of the Yonkers Family YMCA—an organization whose gang violence interruption program that has become a model for other communities across the country. She also serves as the co-chair of the YMCA Gun Violence Prevention Group. In this episode, she discusses the role of youth serving organizations in addressing this issue in a way that transcends the typical political or demographic divides.

Episode 6: Peer to Peer Abuse Prevention in Organizational Settings
Preventing peer-to-peer abuse requires a nuanced and human-centered approach. As VP of Child Protection and Organizational Risk for YMCA of the USA, Britt Darwin-Looney has a wealth of experience in how to approach that challenge. In this conversation, she emphasizes the importance of zero tolerance for youth-to-youth sexual activity, robust and comprehensive reporting, and also being careful to focus more on supervision and preventing problematic behaviors, than on excluding or stigmatizing youth as ‘perpetrators.’

Episode 5: Empowering Children to Recognize Abuse
As an author, parent and social worker, Meghan Hurley Backofen knows that abusers rely on secrecy to perpetrate their crimes. That’s why she works to empower children to recognize and report abuse—including through her children’s book Who’s the Boss Of This Body?, and podcast 10 Tips for Sexual Abuse Prevention. In this episode, Meghan explains that it is always the responsibility of adults to protect children from abuse. Yet, she says, part of that responsibility includes teaching the knowledge, skills, and even vocabulary that kids need to seek help, should they ever need it.

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Episode 4: Trans Inclusivity as a Path to Safety
“Whether you know it or not, you have had trans kids in your camp.” — This powerful statement arose out of our conversation with Chris Rehs-Dupin, in which we explore the inclusion as a prerequisite for safety. As a founder of Transplaining for Camps, Chris is an expert in navigating conversations on inclusivity that too often have become politicized and divisive. He explains the importance of education and discusses the dangers of othering. And he leaves us with practical recommendations for safeguarding the inherent right of every child to feel safe, included, respected, and seen.

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Episode 3: An Upstream Approach to Child Abuse Prevention
Adverse Childhood Experiences, such as abuse and neglect, are correlated with 5 of the top 10 causes of death in The United States. In this episode, we speak with Sharon Hirsch, President and CEO, of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina about taking an upstream approach to address the root causes of child abuse. She shares how youth-serving organizations can nurture positive childhood experiences for the youth that they serve.

Episode 2: The Rising Threat of Antisemitism, and How to Respond
Last year, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recorded the highest ever frequency of antisemitic violence and threats that they had ever seen. In this episode, we speak with Emily Snider of the ADL about ways that all community organizations—JCCs, YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs and summer camps alike—to stand in solidarity against antisemitism, and all other forms of hate.

Episode 1: Let’s Change Perspective
In this episode, we’re exploring the importance of changing perspectives and looking at things differently—a theme we’ll return to throughout the season.  Specifically, we’ll hear from attendees at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America national conference about how the work they do has taught them to see the world and the youth they work with differently. We hope that their powerful insights will help inform your own work to create safe communities for all.

Season 1

Episode 20: Our Phone Booth at ACA
For our season finale, we wanted to lift up the voices of one of the movements we serve. At our booth at American Camp Association National Conference, we asked attendees to record their response to one of four questions:

  • What would you tell your younger camp self?
  • What item would a counselor never be without?
  • How do you keep campers engaged during downtime?
  • And what keeps you up at night when planning camp?

In this episode, we listen to some of our favorite responses, and we discuss the insights they provide about how we can best serve our youth.

We will return in early summer for season two.

Episode 19: Ongoing, Realistic, Aquatics Training
After three drowning events at our customer organizations, just this month, we discuss the importance of ongoing, realistic, lifeguard training. Redwoods Consultant, Maggie McDonald explains what “realistic” actually means, and how Aquatics Directors can adapt ongoing training to their specific environment.

Episode 18: 3 D’s of Drowning
Our guests this week, Becky Hulett and Kelly Martinez, are the Aquatics Directors for the City of Phoenix Pools. They are deeply focused on aquatic safety to prevent drowning at all pools, and have been credited with elevating the effectiveness of training across the aquatics industry. They discuss how best to train lifeguards and prevent the three D’s of drowning: Denial, Disbelief, and Delay.

Episode 17: Aquatics Year in Review 2022
Michael Oostman has investigated nearly 1,000 drowning events in his lifetime—including all events at our customers’ pools and waterfronts. That means he knows a thing or two about how to make the water safe. Michael shares the trends he found in all of his investigations completed in 2022—and discusses current priorities for drowning prevention.

Episode 16: Creating an Anti-Racist Organization
Following on from our conversation about the nature and definition of structural racism, this week we are shifting our focus to action and implementation. Featuring a special guest, leadership coach and cultural change agent Sterling E. Freeman, we talk about what it really means to create an anti-racist organization.

Episode 15: Defining Structural Racism
‘Structural racism’ is a term that is used a lot. But what does it really mean? In observance of Black History Month, we look into the concept of structural racism, and give real examples of how this ill manifests in different ways across our society. Grounded in facts and data, we hope this episode serves as an introduction to terms, and helps to advance our work to create safe—and equitable—communities for all.

Episode 14: Gun Violence Prevention
Mass shootings always bring conversations about guns back to the forefront. But it is important to remember that they are one small part of a much broader problem. We view gun violence as any death, injury, or threat by the use of a gun. In this episode, we look at gun violence data and discuss the moral and practical imperative for practical gun violence prevention strategies that are both apolitical and evidence-based. We also explore the similarities between gun violence prevention and our work to prevent drownings, child sexual abuse, and even motor vehicle injuries.

Episode 13: Mental, Emotional, And Social Health with Tracey Gaslin
Tracey Gaslin has been a leader in the mental, emotional, and social health (MESH) space for years. She is the Executive Director of the Alliance for Camp Health, which serves as the knowledge center for camp health services. In this episode, Paige and Kevin learn about the innovative ways the Association for Camp Health is empowering camps to support their campers and staff.

Episode 12: Emotional Social Wellness for Staff
In this episode, we continue our discussion of emotional social wellness. This time, our focus is on staff—and we have a special guest. Derek Heim, the CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Metro South in Brockton, MA, tells us how his Club has innovated to provide new social-emotional resources for staff and youth.

Episode 11: Social and Emotional Needs of Youth
The social and emotional needs of youth have vastly changed post-pandemic. Schools and youth-serving organizations are seeing this firsthand with a rise in behavioral issues, lack of interest, and increased use of electronic devices. Paige and Kevin discuss how this directly affects your staff and how you can support them, so they can best support the needs of the kids in their care.

Episode 10: Seasonal Staffing and Training
As the holidays and New Year bring a rush of members to your organization, Paige and Kevin discuss how to use employment as a risk management tool. Ensuring you have the right people in the right places is the key to running safe and effective programs.

Episode 9: Stop Normalizing Antisemitism
In the weeks following Antisemitic remarks by Ye (formerly Kanye West), Kyrie Irving, and other celebrities, we look at how we can all play a part to end the normalization of Antisemitism. As Antisemitic comments and acts become more commonplace, it takes the courage of all to stop hate and racism against Jews. The Anti-Defamation League defines Antisemitism as “hostility to, prejudice towards, or discrimination against Jews. Antisemitism is considered to be a form of racism.” Please join us.

Episode 8: Your Role in Suicide Prevention
After Veteran’s Day, we discuss the rise in mental health challenges among veterans and active military. And we explore how community organizations play a role in suicide prevention. (If anyone you know needs support in the US, please call 988—the suicide and crisis lifeline.)

Episode 7: Match Program Scale to Staff Capacity
We know that recruiting and retaining staff is difficult across the country. In this episode, Kevin and Paige discuss why it’s important to be innovative, creative, and responsive so that programming doesn’t outweigh capacity. And they discuss the need to invest—and continue to invest—in current staff to make sure they feel loved and connected to purpose.

Episode 6: Child Care Deserts
There are now more than 100,000 fewer childcare employees than before the pandemic started. In fact, in many states, more than 80% of childcare sites are reporting a staffing shortage. This changing environment has created childcare deserts, putting a new strain on families, and on youth-serving organizations too. In this episode, we look at creative ways youth-serving community organizations are stepping up to meet this challenge.

Episode 5: Quiet Quitting and Employee Engagement
Quiet quitting” is a term that’s been used recently to refer to employees doing the bare minimum of their job responsibilities. We discuss this term and how it is poorly named, placing too much blame on the employee. Managers and employees alike have the responsibility to engage in work and organizational culture—making sure that everyone is motivated, engaged, and valued for the work they do.

Episode 4: Senseless Loss and Societal Intolerance
Days after a devastating mass shooting in our hometown of Raleigh NC, we discuss our own heartache at this senseless loss of life. We also explore societal trends of intolerance: The intolerance for personal wrongdoings, and the intolerance for bad corporate behavior, and how both can impact the ability of youth-serving non-profits to deliver on their mission.

Episode 3: ‘Passing the Trash’
What happens if someone asks you for a reference for someone who was terminated for breaching your code of conduct? Or who is suspected of abuse? Will you be candid with the hiring organization, or do concerns about confidentiality get in the way? Based on a listener request, we explore your responsibility to the community as a whole. And we provide practical strategies to avoid ‘passing the trash.’

Episode 2: Supervision, The Fourth S
After discussing staffing, safety, and society, the next word in this series is also an answer to the challenges presented. Supervision goes beyond just watching. We’ll share some stories about what happens when management is not present and how to provide the best care possible.

Episode 1: A Dedication to Duty
After a historic week for the world, Redwoods’ Co-Founder and CEO Kevin Trapani sits down with Paige Bagwell to explore what it means to lead with values and conviction when society’s expectations are shifting.