Hello Fellow Staff Team Members,
Welcome to the Fall 2017 edition of our "Safety First" newsletter.
You will see by the articles contained within this newsletter that your safety and the security of our members and participants remain of paramount importance to the YMCA.
I applaud the efforts of our staff and volunteer leaders, at the local and national YMCA level, for staying proactive with our policies and our actions to maintain a safe and welcoming environment at the Y. You will also see our response and lessons learned from events that have transpired at both the local and national level. We must stay diligent and vigilant in our approach to safety and that is why your observations, feedback and input remain critical to our organization. Please help our cause by observing, reporting and taking action on anything that you deem as important to the enhancement of a safe and caring culture at the Y.
A culture that values a safe, secure and welcoming environment is consistent with the core values that have built the foundation of our association.
Caring: Providing a safe, secure and welcoming environment is a strong indicator as to how much we care as an organization about our staff team, members and participants.
Honesty: We must remain honest and forthright in our evaluation of our security measures and gaps in providing safe facilities and services. We must make decisions with integrity and transparency to ensure that the safety of our patrons is of the highest focus.
Respect: It is important to respect the needs of all who are a part of our YMCA family. We must also respect the tradition, heritage and image of our organization as a community asset and a home away from home for thousands of people.
Responsibility: It is the responsibility of all team members to have a "see it - own it" mentality and attitude when dealing with safety and security measures at the Y.
Safety is indeed part of the culture and ingrained in our core values.
Thank you for all that you do to build the foundation of our community through your amazing work at the Y. Enjoy your reading!


Bill Breider
President / CEO


Brian Rammer, Associate Executive Director, Neenah-Menasha YMCA 

Tom Wendt, Associate Executive Director, Appleton YMCA

YMCA of the USA and the YMCA of the Fox Cities is partnering with Praesidium, Inc. to provide resources and support on Child Safety. Praesidium, Inc. sends out a "Tip of the Month" on a variety of child safety topics. Here is the latest "Tip of the Month".

We live in a digital generation and the constant evolution of technology can present unique adult-to-youth and youth-to-youth abuse risks. Being able to recognize the dangers surrounding electronic communication can help your organization prevent and respond to abuse stemming from social media.

  • Offenders need access, privacy, and control to abuse. Social media can provide both access and privacy through (often) anonymous apps.
  • Some offenders use social media to groom youth online before meeting them in person.
  • Situational abuse can also occur through social media. Offenders start off by helping youth with problems (difficulties at home, school, etc.) in an innocent manner, but the situations turn inappropriate when the adult takes advantage of a vulnerable youth.
  • 92% of teens go online daily and 90% of teens text so the opportunity for abuse through electronic communication is extremely high.
  • 33% of boys and 36% of girls report that they have been cyberbullied. Social media adds the anonymous aspect to bullying that is particularly dangerous.
  • 20% of teens "sext." Apps like Snapchat,, and Monkey leave the impression that photo messages will vanish after a set time, but there are still ways to gain access to these photos after they have "disappeared."
  • 14-20% of teens report being solicited online for pictures or in-person meetings. Youth are more willing to ask for photos or to meet up over social media because of the lack of face-to-face interaction. 
Keeping up with the seemingly countless ways youth are messaging or using social media can be overwhelming. Fortunately, by working in tandem with the parents of youth in organizations, there are four suggested strategies your organization can utilize to protect youth from the risks of technology.

Sharon Johnson, Executive Director, Heart of the Valley YMCA

It takes less than a minute for a thief to break your car window and snatch the iPod, cell phone, laptop, or purse on the front seat. Unfortunately, the YMCA's in the Fox Cities have recently been targeted, along with a number of other local businesses, in a rash of smash-and-grab thefts in our parking lots in that past two months. 
Each year, $1.26 billion in personal items and accessories are stolen from vehicles in about 1.85 million thefts. For every theft, experts estimate there are several break-ins and attempted break-ins. Don't become a statistic. Nationwide Insurance offers 10 common sense habits and tips for preventing car break-ins:
  1. Keep your car visible - Park in well-lit areas near people or with an on-duty parking lot or garage attendant. Avoid having your car concealed by larger vehicles, fences, or foliage; thieves like to work in private.
  2. Don't make it easy - Keep windows and sunroofs closed and doors locked. Almost one-fourth of thefts from vehicles are from unlocked cars.
  3. Activate your vehicle's alarm - Don't have one? Factory-installed and theft systems are best, but a professionally-installed alarm can discourage a car break-in thief who likes to work in silence.
  4. Hide your valuables - Many smash-and-grab thieves act on impulse, so keep your stuff out of sight - either with you or in a locked trunk. Don't count on the glove box; thieves know to look there, and they're easy to break into.
  5. Hide your valuables II - If you have a wagon or SUV that leaves your cargo area open, get a retractable fitted cover to keep shopping bags or other belongings hidden.
  6. Don't hand a thief your keys - Take you keys with you. And if you think you have a great hiding place for a spare key, car break-in thieves know to look above the visor, in the center console, under the floor mat, in the trunk well, etc.
  7. Stow your stuff before arrival - Experienced thieves often stake out parking lots to watch for people putting items in their trunk. Help prevent car break-ins by putting valuables like laptops, messenger bags, and electronic devices into your trunk before you get to the parking lot.
  8. Stash the evidence, too - After you've put your stuff in the trunk, don't forget such telltale evidence as power plugs, MP3 adapters, and navigation system windshield suction-cup mounts. Thieves know what they're looking for, so hide the electronic accessories, too.
  9. Trust your instincts - If you see suspicious activity, find another spot to park. If you're concerned, tell the attendant or report your suspicions to police. You may be helping keep another person from being a victim of a car break-in or worse.
  10. Take it one more step - Many vehicles are broken into with the intent of stealing the vehicle itself. Visible anti-theft devices, like steering wheel locks, steering column collars, or brake pedal locks may discourage the would-be thief from breaking in and trying.
Learn more about how to prevent car break-ins. The aftermath of a car break-in can be expensive, both in repair costs and replacement of your valuables, as well as making you feel vulnerable. Visit for more car safety tips.
Sara Tilkens, Human Resource Director, YMCA of the Fox Cities

From every tragedy, we learn valuable lessons that can help us to potentially prevent something similar from happening again.  I came across an article submitted to SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) on lessons learned from the terrible Vegas tragedy.  While some of it was exactly relevant to our workplace, I've pulled out topics can be transferred in our daily work lives to keep each other and our members safe. 
Be aware:
Employees should be conscientious and mindful of red flags, like unusual behavior, out of place bags/equipment, and check in patterns.
Train Staff: 
Attendance at our Emergency Response training is mandatory.  This training helps our staff know what to do in times of various emergency situations. 
Alarms & Video Surveillance:
Utilize alarms where it makes sense.  While we do not have high rise buildings, we do use common entrances and engage alarms for other entry points into our buildings.  We also have video surveillance in our buildings. 
Partner with Law Enforcement: 
We maintain a very good relationship with local law enforcement in the communities we serve.  This partnership allows for open communication and support. 
We are fortunate to live and work in communities generally considered very safe.  Following emergency response procedures and fostering open communication are just a few key ways we maintain our safe environment.
*Information adapted from "HR, Safety Experts Identify Lessons from Las Vegas Tragedy" by Allen Smith J.D, 10/13/17
Sharon Pickering, Chief Financial Officer, YMCA of the Fox Cities
A recent headline I read, "A Cybersecurity Breach at Equifax Left Pretty Much Everyone's Financial Data Vulnerable," really resonated with me. My first thought was, isn't Equifax an agency that is supposed to monitor our credit and offer us fraud-prevention services? We have all heard about data breaches and fraud, but this one really hit home for me and left me wondering how to protect not only my personal information but also the information of all of the members and non-members we come in contact with on a daily basis at the YMCA.

I did a little bit of research and found a great article by Steve Robinson titled "Resilience in the Face of Increasing Cyber Threats." Steve states that "the fastest growing threats are in the areas of ransomware, social engineering and, unfortunately, well-intentioned employees and volunteers making mistakes."

Ransomware is a malware (malicious software) that renders the victim's computer or specific files unreadable. A ransom is demanded in return for a key to unlock or decrypt the files. Social engineering is the manipulation of people so they give up confidential information or authorize the transfer of money based on fraudulent instructions.

How do we protect ourselves? Our YMCA has just increased its cyber insurance limits which help protect us on the back side of a breach. Cyber insurance covers a business' liability for a data breach involving sensitive customer information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, account numbers, driver's license numbers and health records stolen by a hacker or other criminal who has gained access to our electronic network.

More important than cyber insurance are the strategies we can do daily to help protect information and prevent a breach from occurring!
  1. Be aware of phishing threats and email scams. An email may contain well-known logos and names, but still not be legitimate. Don't open emails from those you don't know or that look somewhat suspicious.
  2. Use strong passwords and change them often. Include upper and lowercase letters, numbers and characters and don't use consecutive letters that form a word.
  3. Don't trust - verify! If email requests involve money or data release, verify these requests with a phone call.
  4. Collect and keep only the information that is necessary, and only for as long as you need it.
  5. Segregate duties so staff that don't need access to sensitive information don't have access to it.
It is important to protect yourself and the community members we come in contact with every day. Please do your part!

One thing we know for certain is that the Equifax breach will not be the last and it's more important now than ever to stay vigilant and keep a closer eye on how you work with data and on your personal and financial information.

If you haven't already, you may want to take a look at the Equifax security breach site to see if your data is at risk. It is estimated that over 143 million people maybe have been impacted by the Equifax breach. 
Sue Pawlowski, Membership and Marketing Director, YMCA of the Fox Cities
We are excited to announce that YMCA of the USA is rolling out Nationwide Membership in November 2017 which allows access to members at participating Y's throughout the US.  Your safety and security is important to us no matter which Y you visit. We have taken the necessary steps to ensure your peace of mind while you are traveling.
Nationwide Membership enables you to visit any participating YMCA in the United States through membership at your "home" YMCA (your home Y is the local association that enrolled you as a member and collects your membership dues). We offer this because we want to help you reach your health and wellness goals wherever you live, work or travel. This is an essential part of our mission to strengthen communities. As a Y staff member please welcome all guests and make them feel at home when they visit our Y's.
We understand that sometimes it is more convenient for members to take advantage of a Y near their workplace or when they are traveling outside the area of their home Y. With Nationwide Membership, members have the flexibility to use  participating Y facilities throughout the United States at no extra charge.
  • Nationwide Membership is valid for active, full facility YMCA members whose home Y participates without restriction or blackout periods.
  • Nationwide member visitors must use their home Y at least 50% of the time.
  • Program-only participants (including Silver Sneakers, Silver and Fit or other like programs) are not eligible for nationwide membership.
  • When visiting a Y, nationwide members will be required to show a valid YMCA membership card and photo ID as well as provide basic membership data such as name and email address.
  • Members will need to sign a universal liability waiver and privacy policy.
  • Ys should allow nationwide members access to services typically offered to full-facility members. Check with the Y for schedule and availability.
  • Registered sex offenders are prohibited from participating.
For a copy of our release and waiver of liability form,  CLICK HERE.
  YMCA of the Fox Cities| 920.739.6135 | 
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