Newsletter Articles

Preventing Child Abuse

April 17, 2013

Beyond the Background Check

Jeff C. Heiser
Senior Assistant Director, Recreation
UC Davis

It’s spring time and chances are program coordinators and directors are gearing up for another great summer of recreation and athletic camps on colleges and universities across the country. By now, hiring is probably in full swing as directors are interviewing and finding top quality counselors and instructors for their programs.

An integral piece of the hiring and screening process involves ensuring that all staff histories are appropriate for working with youth; this most likely includes a fingerprint background check to eliminate those with criminal histories. Another commonly used screening tool is the National Sex Offender Public Website. This is a free service that lists all registered sex offenders across the country and can be searched by name or neighborhood.

Although fingerprint background checks and use of the National Sex Offender Public Website are important steps in discovering staff histories, they cannot be our sole source of information. Unfortunately, most child molesters do not have a criminal background record. If you are relying on a criminal background check to be your only defense against child abuse, you may not be doing everything you can to prevent child molesters and abusers from being hired, gaining access to your participants and causing irreversible damage to individuals, your program and University.

Fortunately, there are several other defense measures we can utilize as hiring managers to prevent child abusers from gaining access to our program. Procedures and strategies should be developed to guide hiring, training, supervision and response practices.
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Twitter — to tweet, or not to tweet

April 17, 2013

Alison Epperson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Health Ed.
Murray State University

As the popularity and widespread use of Facebook skyrocketed, resulting in quite literally everyone and their mother and even grandmothers creating an account, younger generations have sought out and embraced different methods of social networking. For many college students, Facebook has already fallen by the wayside after just recently celebrating its seventh birthday.

If you have yet to tap into the latest social media Twitter, you could be missing out. You may be feeling overwhelmed with ‘too many social media outlets’ however, staying current on trends and technologies has become more critical than ever as far as way in which to disseminate information. Here are just a few of the major utilizers of Twitter — ESPN, AP, The Weather Channel, and all the major news networks.

What is Twitter exactly?
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Managing the Ever-Changing Risk of Social Media

April 17, 2013

Gayle Mitcham
Marsh Canada

Social media has emerged as a prominent stage for interaction. More and more,
organizations are transforming their online presence to engage stakeholders. Many
educational institutions also leverage social media platforms to connect with the public
and students. Potential students can engage with an institution and its current students
through interactive websites, virtual tours, and online communities, such as Facebook,
Twitter, and YouTube. The downside is that institutions may underestimate the potential
negative consequences associated with these initiatives; giving rise to poor
management of the related risks. As social media continues to evolve, these threats are
becoming more common and far reaching.

Identifying risks and inherent issues of social media are the critical first steps.
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Risk and Crisis Management

April 17, 2013

A Recreation Perspective

Kristen Brosius, M.Ed.
Mary Kate McMahon, M.Ed
Springfield College

June 1, 2011 started like any other late spring day in New England. While a majority of students on the Springfield College campus had gone home for the summer, the recreation facility was bubbling with activity, including summer camps, children’s swim lessons, recreational exercising, and group exercise classes. As the afternoon approached, the sky began to look grey and ominous. Because a tornado is such a rare occurrence in western Massachusetts, few took the tornado warning seriously and continued about their day. Against all odds, a funnel cloud touched down near campus at 4:23 p.m. Instantly, the student and professional campus recreation staff became responsible for the safety of over one hundred visiting patrons.

In any campus recreation setting, planning for a disaster or crisis is an essential component of a comprehensive risk and crisis management plan. The crisis management cycle described by Dunkel, Rollo, and Zdziarski (2007) details the stages: planning, prevention, response, recovery and learning. While many of these steps are tackled on an institutional level, a campus recreation department should have its own highly organized emergency action plan.
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New Age Marketing

April 17, 2013

The Fast Track to Success

Mike Dominguez
Sonoma State University
Intramural/Sport Club/Marketing/ Kids Camp Coordinator

Paper is dying. Smartphones are more popular than your favorite television show. If you’re not reaching your audience through at least 5 different media sites, you’re not reaching them! Social Media is the most heavily talked about subject in the world, with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube being the most often used resource by professionals and students. If you attended this year’s NIRSA National Marketing Institute, you would have learned more than one human brain can handle. Here is some information you can utilize for your students and customers.

Keynote presenter Luke Wyckoff of Social Media Energy spoke about keeping things in groups of 3. The human brain remembers information more clearly when things are grouped in threes. Date, Time, and Location is a good group to keep together. This can be used for flyers, posters, and your website. How well you know your clients is the key to where they get their information, who they share their information with, and how likely they are to return to your program. How well do you know your clients? Are your students finding your website or Facebook page?
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The Ball is in Your Court

April 17, 2013

Lessons from the Super Bowl: Preparing for Power Outages

Katharine M. Nohr, J.D.

The world was witness to a 33 minute black out during the 2013 Super Bowl in the Superdome in New Orleans, which halted play and caught players, fans, and organizers by surprise. The television audience witnessed a successful handling of the power outage, which did not lead to crowd unruliness, injuries or chaos. It appeared that spectators and players patiently waited for the electricity to be restored so that the game could resume.

Event organizers should consider the possibility of power outages when planning events. Black outs can be caused by weather conditions, mechanical issues, or even downing of power lines from impacts by motor vehicles. Whatever the cause, plans should be put in place to address efforts to restore power, communicate with spectators and players, crowd control, emergency illumination, managing evacuation/exiting facilities, handling television and radio broadcasts, and addressing medical and other emergencies without power.
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