Web Resources for all YMCAs: An Introduction to Open Y

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We live in a world of resource constraints. That’s true no matter your budget. At some point, the need always surpasses the ability to meet it. What’s a good solution? I think it’s all about fighting our inner two-year-old and sharing more.

If you need a WIFM (what’s in it for me), how about innovation and growth? When teamwork happens the way it’s supposed to happen, amazing things can come out of it. When everyone in a group is equally invested in the greater goal, the result is everyone working faster, finding mistakes more easily, and innovating better. Drawing on the knowledge of others is crucial in getting to the best result. This concept has spawned an entire movement of sharing.

Ever heard of open source software or collaborative work environments? These are two examples in the technology world where individuals come together and contribute to something in the hopes of making it better. Just like our parents told us, the concept of sharing is wildly successful. And now, sharing is impacting a non-profit movement that Daxko has been supporting for 10 years: the YMCAs. Behold the Open Y initiative.

In 2016, a small group of Ys recognized that they had access to modern, engaging website development resources that weren’t available to all Ys. Rather than taking the path of least resistance and merely hoping someone else would solve the problem, these leaders came together and decided to be the change by developing their content management systems on the open source functionality, Drupal 8. What this means is that every Y can now make use of the development that these few pioneers started. And every time someone develops something new with this source, they can publish it for others to use as well.  At the Open Y Summit last week, it was invigorating to see this trend of collaboration come to life and open the eyes of 130 people, all focused on bringing greater opportunity to the YMCA movement.

Working outside of your own association can seem tedious and time-consuming. However, as the Open Y has already shown, bringing unique minds together is worth it because when a group of people focuses on achieving a big, common goal they create new, synergistic energy. This is how dreams of moon shots become reality. As a vested partner in the YMCA movement, I’m honored to be able to contribute to this new reality.

Want to learn more about Open Y and see how you can play a role in change?

Register to attend “An Introduction to Open Y” on Thursday, October 12, at 1:00pm CST. Nathan Maehren (Sr. VP, Digital at YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities) and Courtney Glover (Director of Digital Strategy at YMCA of Greater Houston), both part of the original group that started Open Y, will walk us through how this initiative came to be and how you can help it grow.

Keep Your Data Safe: Unattended Workstation Standards

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Ensure that your staff never leave a workstation unlocked or unattended. Each workstation contains access to your most precious assets: your member and organization’s data. While much focus is placed on cybersecurity efforts to prevent malware or viruses, it is equally important to focus on the individual using the workstation. A computer is the most vulnerable when a user that is logged into the network leaves it unattended. It is possible for unauthorized access to applications to result in changes to data, fraudulent use, installing malware, etc. One cannot know who is going to be in the vicinity of a workstation, especially in high traffic areas, such as a front desk or a welcome center. Workstations located near these areas especially need to be secured. We recommend the following unattended workstation standards:

  • When leaving a workstation unattended, even if only for a few minutes it is best practice to lock your workstation with a password
  • Implement a password protected screen saver to run after a period of inactivity. PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance states 15 minutes if idle
  • If the workstation needs to be unattended, such as a check-in station, only allow access to that particular page with no additional permissions or access
  • At the end of each shift log off all applications, systems, and networks for your workstation.

About Daxko Cybersecurity

Our sophisticated architecture and stringent security policies protect our customers’ data from any outside intruders. Some of the ways Daxko keeps your data safe include:

  • Multi-tier data security architecture with Layer 7 Firewalls
  • Intrusion Detection System (IDS) providing 24/7/365 monitoring and alert escalation
  • Dedicated onsite security teams at each data center providing 24/7/365 support
  • Incident management and escalation teams with formal tested plans to quickly resolve any issues
  • All communication and application access occur via secure and encrypted channels, web and web services communication use the HTTPS protocol, and file transfers use SFTP
  • Access is tightly controlled, monitored, logged and limited to authorized team members.

Daxko is:

  • Certified at the highest Level of PCI DSS Level 1 – Global Registry of Validated Providers
  • Audited and Certified SSAE 18 (SOC 1)
  • Audited annually by a certified third party QSA (Quality Security Assessor)
  • Performing enterprise logging and scheduled penetration testing
  • Providing multi-vector, multi-site transactional monitoring and performance testing

Florida International University Expands Campus Rec Offerings with SpectrumNG

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Florida International University (FIU) was looking for a software partner that could handle their growing campus recreation needs. “We are doubling in size,” says Charles Judkins, Director, Wellness & Recreation for FIU. “There is going to be a huge push for memberships and I knew we needed a good software system that could handle that.” Judkins reached out to Daxko because he’d worked with SpectrumNG campus recreation management at other facilities and knew it would be a good fit for the needs of FIU campus recreation.

FIU is home to 5 campuses in South Florida and is among the ten largest public universities in the United States. With that many students plus faculty and staff members, FIU needed a software management system for their campus recreation centers that would serve existing members and allow FIU to expand their membership offerings. In addition, FIU campus recreation is in the midst of a renovation that will create a much larger facility with the ability to serve more members.

Bigger, Better and More Connected
FIU has plans to expand offerings with the help of SpectrumNG. “I wanted to expand our membership offerings and under our current system, we couldn’t do that,” explains Judkins. Part of the expanded offerings will include different membership levels as well as extra add-ons like locker rentals. FIU plans to implement camp programming in the summer and other initiatives will be made possible with their implementation of Daxko’s SpectrumNG.

Judkins is excited about the online services offered with SpectrumNG. “Giving our students and patrons the ability to have an online account and allowing members to scan in from their phones is a big win for us.”

The Data Story
Funding for campus recreation facilities and programs at FIU is decided by the Student Government Association so the ability to run reports through their campus recreation management software is crucial. “I need that data to help me make the case for funding for facilities and programs. With SpectrumNG the data is easily available and staff has access to what they need.”

Looking Toward the Future
“I like how the software has evolved, especially as far as needs for campus recreation,” says Judkins. Judkins also points to the software’s flexibility and scalability as pluses for his organization. “If there are elements we don’t need we don’t have to use them with our setup,” he explains.

The first phase of the software implementation will be at their Modesto A. Maidique Campus with plans to expand once the first phase is complete. “I can’t wait until the second campus has SpectrumNG. The ease of memberships with multiple campuses will allow us to be more connected and open the flow of information between our recreation centers,” says Judkins.

Customer Story – Y in Central Maryland

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We recently had a chance to speak with Sherrie Rovnan, CFO, and Jeff Mazerski, Director of Software Applications, at the Y in Central Maryland, where they’ve been instrumental in creating and piloting Daxko’s Online Move Camper functionality.

Online Move Camper allows members and program participants to make changes to existing camp registrations within Daxko Operations, freeing staff from manual camp moves, and empowering parents and other guardians to adjust camp selections at a time that’s convenient for them.

Mazerski and Rovnan both stressed that online moves are a must for their organization. “We serve a lot of two-income families, and the most convenient time for them to sign up and change camp registrations is in the evening, when our central office may not be open. Working parents need the ability to do this online,” Rovnan states.

When asked about the biggest internal impact on their organization, Rovnan explains that the amount of staff time saved cannot be underestimated. “We have thousands of online moves every summer, so to have this functionality is vital for us. Changing camps can be very time consuming over the phone, and that was something that fell onto the front desk staff. We wanted to take that transactional interaction away from front desk staff and instead have them focus on more meaningful engagements with members. We can’t stress enough the amount of time saved with online moves.”

In fact, if you consider that each move takes about 10 minutes per support call for staff to assist guardians with the request, and you multiply that by the 2,000+ moves the Y in Central Maryland records in an average summer, online functionality could save more than 300 hours of staff time.

As far as the setup, Mazerski and Rovnan both agree that it’s simple. “There is not a lot of work involved to get it set up. All you have to do is set up the dates and fees,” says Rovnan. Mazerski adds, “Really, it’s just one extra set of fields to enter when you’re setting up your camps, and there are automated controls built in so the association has the power to close online moves prior to the session and charge fees if necessary.”

“Daxko has made it so easy,” Rovnan adds. “It’s so easy for the members and participants to do themselves. It takes you through it step by step. We haven’t had one parent call and say they didn’t understand how to do it.”