APPLETON (NBC26) — The Fox Cities YMCA has been so short-staffed, executives have had to step in to take care of children.
“You may be doing something at your desk one minute but you may be helping in a program or helping with a group of children in another," said Danielle Englebert, Chief Operating Officer for Fox Cities YMCA. "In many nonprofits everybody has to do everything.”
The YMCA has lost a lot of staff members since March, and they're trying hard to hire more, said Englebert.
“You don’t get applications because I think there’s some people that could work and just say ‘I’m not comfortable right now,'" she said. “We want to make sure that we have enough folks in case there are people who don’t feel well. You want them to stay home. You don’t want them to come in and have to work.”
The Fox Valley Boys & Girls Clubs are also facing staffing shortages.
“It’s really important that we have somebody to come in and make sure that we don’t have to close down cohorts or kids with really no notice for the families," said Rachel Schroeder, Senior Director of Youth Services for the Fox Valley Boys & Girls Clubs. “With the pandemic, it really forced us to be providing care and support all day for the youth in the community so we’ve been open pretty much all day every day since March.”
It's been difficult to recruit and retain staff members when there is a really high need for childcare right now, said Schroeder.
“We could be serving hundreds more if we had the staff to do so," said Schroeder. "We have the space for it to do it safely and if we had more staff we could serve more kids and really get more from our wait lists.”
Both the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club need even more staff than usual because they have to create more groups of kids in order to keep everyone safe.
“We can keep small groups of kids together so there’s more teachers involved or more volunteers," said Englebert.
But despite everything, the kids have adapted.
“They’re resilient," said Englebert. "We’ve actually seen our kids really grow and thrive and I think part of it is because the ones that have been coming to care have kind of had some normalcy.”