YMCA Offers Youth Pizza, Game Party

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Every week The Redwoods Group encounters dozens of similar announcements through our review of periodicals. Through a review of incidents and many conversations with YMCA leaders we know that special events such as these carry unique risks.


“[NAME] YMCA OFFERS YOUTH PIZZA, GAME PARTY”

US CITY: 02/24/2007 – The [Name] YMCA will host Freaky Friday for youngsters in kindergarten to sixth grade on March 9.

The program will run from 6:30 to 9 p.m. and will include swimming and games. Pizza will be served and the movie “Flushed Away” will be shown.

For more information, call [number]. Registration is required.


  • What the children see: A great way to spend the evening with friends
  • What the parents see: A night of fun for the kids – a night of freedom for themselves
  • What YMCA programming staff see: An exciting way to serve their community
  • What YMCA risk managers or Redwoods Risk Managers see: A wonderful program if carefully planned and executed – a recipe for disaster, if not

Some things to consider:

  • Will the YMCA have sufficient staff to monitor all aspects of the evening’s activities? Dedicated staff should be assigned to hallways and locker rooms to monitor the children in high risk but often unsupervised areas.
  • Work to reduce your normal program operating ratios. The YMCA will be working with children who are not familiar with the program structure and your rules and will be sharing the YMCA with other patrons.
  • Will the swimming be done separately from the pizza and movie? Best practices would have the activities not only separated into different areas, but would keep their times separated to remove the opportunity for mingling of activities. It seems intuitive, but remember:
    • food and drink don’t belong in the pool area –
      • slip-fall potential on the deck from spilled food or beverage
      • water quality issues in the water from spilled food or beverage
      • broken glass or ceramic exposure potential from inappropriate plates or containers
    • movies don’t belong in the pool area –
      • reduced lighting for the movie compromises lifeguarding effectiveness
      • flotation devices used while watching movie compromises lifeguarding effectiveness
      • basically static activity fosters lifeguard complacency
  • Have the guards been sufficiently trained – in general, but especially for this specific activity?
  • Will all the children be swim-tested?
  • Will they be appropriately marked to ensure they stay in the appropriate depth of water?
  • Is there place and provision for those who do not pass or do not take the test?
  • Will there be extra eyes on the water? 75% of Redwoods’ drownings in the last five years were in special events

Similar events are frequently suggested throughout the country – be very careful to embrace only programs that you can ensure will provide safe and fun activity for the kids in your service area.

Please call us at 800-463-8546 to discuss this or any other risk management safety tip, or visit our web site at www.redwoodsgroup.com to learn more about YMCA risk management issues.

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