Are you ready to Huddle Up?
The NCAS has been a leader of the sport for social justice movement for 30 years, and one of the core issues we have worked to eliminate is gender violence. Our work in co-developing the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) model placed us in the vanguard of our field by creating innovations around: engaging men; the bystander approach; men and women working together; discussion-based strategies; and many more. Specifically, our experience in sports culture has been pioneering. Read More
NCAS impacts Leadership of 19 NBA teams
The NCAS provided domestic violence awareness education for 19 NBA teams in the Winter of 2015. NCAS trainers impacted the leadership of some of the NBA's top franchises including: Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, OKC Thunder, LA Lakers, Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, and more. In each session NCAS trainers challenged the basketball operations leadership (President, GM, Assistant GM's, Coaches, Trainers, and Strength Coaches) to create a culture of awareness and clear expectations around domestic violence.
Huddle Up launches with active 1st Month
Huddle Up launched on July 1, 2016 and started off running with several trainings requested to impact these organizations. Huddle Up is driven to impact sports culture and this focus was apparent as trainings with high school sports organization AthLife; student-athlete trainings with Michigan St. University & the University of Illinois; and training with the Los Angeles Dodgers. All of these trainings will take place in July.
The Power of the Huddle
Huddle Up leverages the transcendent power of sport to eradicate gender violence, in all of its forms, and the sexism underpinning this abuse. In sport, the huddle is a powerful symbol of togetherness, a place where many become one. In the huddle, teammates convene to reinforce their union, challenge & support one another, and communicate strategy. In the huddle, teammates forget past set-backs, galvanize conviction, and always have a unified front against the opponent. Huddle Up harnesses that power by challenging, educating, and empowering participants to be "all-in" to defeat our opponent – sexist abuse.
Huddle Up addresses the full continuum of abusive behaviors and empowers participants to understand how misogynistic language, sexual harassment, gendered bullying, sexual assault, rape and domestic violence are linked together. This understanding inspires participants to have the courage to challenge behaviors on all levels of the continuum.
The NCAS, now operating Institute SSJ, has been a leader of the sport for social justice movement for 30 years, and one of the core issues we have worked to eliminate is gender violence. Our work in co-developing the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) model placed us in the vanguard of our field by creating innovations around: engaging men; the bystander approach; men and women working together; discussion-based strategies; and many more. Specifically, our experience in sports culture has been pioneering.
From locker rooms to sport executive suites, we have learned many lessons and developed best practices for effectively addressing the full continuum of abusive behaviors and empowering participants to understand how misogynistic language, sexual harassment, gendered bullying, sexual assault, rape and domestic violence are linked together. Our experience informs us that, notwithstanding some incremental progress in sports culture, another innovation is needed to help a sports world that is struggling to gain any real traction in dealing with gender violence.
Simply put, more needs to be done than what has been done in this field to date. We've learned that conversations need to go deeper to shift attitudes and behaviors, and to have lasting impact on a departments' or teams' culture. We've learned that tailored curriculum and trainings are needed for different groups ranging from senior leadership to student-athletes -- surgical strategies to most effectively engage and transform participants. We've learned that everyone must be involved in training discussions about these issues. We've learned that we, as a culture, need to re-think how learning is defined. Finally, we've learned how to make impact in sport organizations, to actually move the needle, and we can't wait to partner with organizations who believe what we believe.
Led by Jeff O'Brien, longtime director of MVP and MVP National, the Institute SSJ has been inspired to synergize our learning into a research-based model called Huddle Up.
Huddle Up is a leadership-infused model of primary prevention. Dealing effectively with sexism and gender violence requires 360-degree, transformational leadership. Huddle Up challenges organizations to embrace the positional and personal leadership necessary to confront the full continuum of abusive behaviors, ranging from sexist language to sexual assault & domestic violence. These are leadership issues, period.
Athletes + Social Justice Expertise = Impact
As former athletes, Huddle Up founding members have an insiders understanding of sport culture combined with over 20 years of lessons learned on the most impactful strategies to address gender violence. Huddle Up members have a rare combination of athletic experience and gender violence prevention expertise that serves as a catalyst for tremendous impact on participants.
The Bystander Approach
Huddle Up members helped introduce and develop the bystander approach to prevention in the gender violence field and have thousands of hours of "on-the-ground" experience of implementing this strategy in high school, college, and professional sport. Huddle Up training and technical assistance include insightful perspectives on how organizations can implement this strategy. Additionally, Huddle Up members serve as Sexual Assault/Bystander Approach subject matter experts for all branches of the US military.
Active Learning Strategies
Huddle Up trainings are driven by active learning strategies that maximize interactive dialogue and enhance participant learning. Active learning strategies foster growth and development through meaningful engagement. Adult learning theory indicates that retention levels for participants in active learning groups follow a positive retention trajectory, while participants in passive learning groups follow a negative retention trajectory. This proves what we intuitively know—the more interested and engaged someone is, the more they will learn.
Led by Dr. Jeff O'Brien, longtime director of MVP and MVP National, the NCAS has been inspired to synergize our learning about gender violence prevention into a research-based model called Huddle Up. Here's our huddle:
Dr. Jeffrey O'Brien
For two-decades, Dr. Jeff O'Brien has been committed to harnessing the power and appeal of sport to create positive social change. One of the United States' leading gender violence prevention educators, Jeff is the catalyst and leader for Huddle Up. Huddle Up leverages the transcendent power of sport to eradicate gender violence, in all of its forms, and the sexism underpinning this abuse. He has been working with education systems, athletics, and the military on these issues since the late nineties
O'Brien's impact and experience in athletics is extensive. A decorated former student-athlete, high school & college coach, and college administrator, Jeff comes to this work with an insiders' perspective. He has delivered presentations at over 100 conferences, and impacted thousands of administrators, coaches, and student-athletes at over 150 universities, and worked with all major professional sports leagues in the US.
He conceived and executed a strategy for conference-wide partnerships to maximize "social justice through sport" messaging at member institutions of some the nation's leading conferences -- the Southeastern Conference (SEC), A-10 Conference, and Big Ten Conference. Jeff has empowered dozens of professional sport teams and leagues including the NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, NASCAR and Major League Lacrosse. Jeff serves as the lead trainer for the NCAA Leadership Forum and Leadership Academy Workshop, highly successful projects that impact hundreds of participants annually.Jeff was the long-time director of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) National Partnership, the first and largest gender violence prevention initiative in college and professional athletics in North America, and the first to utilize the "bystander" approach.
Jeff serves as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) on bystander intervention and violence against women for all branches of the US military and Australian Army, and has delivered domestic and sexual violence prevention education for military service members in Iraq, Bahrain, Germany, England, Japan, Hawaii, Alaska, Australia, and throughout the mainland US. He is one of three SME's to create the US Air Force's system-wide Bystander Intervention Training (BIT).
He provides leadership for multiple NCAS programs, including: Branded a Leader (BAL), Athletic Leadership in the 21st Century (AL 21), and Huddle Up.
He began his professional work of changing lives through the power of sport in 1995 when he was named as the initial Site Coordinator of Canisius' AmeriCorps program — Athletes in Service to America.
Jeff is a published author and speaks regularly with the media. He is regularly sought after for expert perspective and technical assistance regarding bystander intervention, gender violence, leadership and sport in society. He has been interviewed and quoted by dozens of local, national, and international media outlets including: CNN, Court TV, NY Times, Boston Globe, Parade Magazine, NPR, BBC, MSBNC, and Teaching Tolerance Magazine.
He holds a BA in English and MS in Education from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida.
He was an All-Conference and Small College All-America selection as a Tight End following his junior and senior seasons and co-captain for his senior year. Jeff was inducted into the Canisius College Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.
Huddle Up Trainers
As former athletes, coaches and athletic administrators, Huddle Up trainers have an insiders understanding of sport culture combined with over 20 years of lessons learned on the most impactful strategies to address gender violence. Huddle Up members have a rare combination of athletic experience and gender violence prevention expertise that serves as a catalyst for tremendous impact on participants.
Huddle Up Clients
Huddle Up was created to be an elite unit with piercing insight into working with the sports world in ending gender violence. High school, college, and professional sport organizations are the specialization of Huddle Up, and the organizations that we have extraordinary impact.
Ready to Join the Huddle? Here are a few ways to join the huddle: Host Huddle Up trainings; Engage with us and members of our huddle through social media; sign up for the Huddle Up e news blasts.
Huddle Up Training & Presentations
Huddle Up provides a variety of services ranging from direct service delivery, keynote presentations, technical assistance and curriculum and training development. Our extended huddle is the sports world – from high school through professional sports, players, coaches, and leaders. Below please find information regarding our services and ways you can join the huddle.
Here are brief descriptions of the two Huddle Up training options. For more information please contact us.
Awareness Raising Trainings
Awareness Raising Trainings are utilized to open dialogue regarding participant leadership around issues of battering and sexual assault. Working from a social justice foundation and with the premise that men and women often approach these issues differently, the trainings are single gender with male facilitators working with male student-leaders and female facilitators working with female student-leaders. Active learning strategies are utilized to help the participants personalize the issue of gender violence, highlight the power of bystanders, and reinforce the importance of their leadership intervening and confronting potentially dangerous situations where peers might need assistance. The specific topics can be tailored to the needs of individual organizations.
Train the Trainer (TTT) Trainings
The TTT training is organized in two distinct phases. Phase I involves the introduction of Huddle Up's educational philosophy and training organized into educational units on Leadership, Battering, Sexual Assault/Rape, Gender Roles , Sexual Harassment and Homophobia/Heterosexism. Each unit is highly interactive and involves a variety of educational approaches (large group, small group, single gender breakouts, media examples and discussion-based). Phase II trains the participants to be trainers.
Large Group Presentations
Huddle Up large group presentations are engaging, multi-media sessions that incorporate videos and interactive dialogue to challenge audiences to confront sexist abuse and explore what it takes to become an empowered bystander: someone who witnesses potentially harmful behavior and takes action that has the potential to lead to a positive outcome. Participants leave these presentations with ideas about how they can respond to difficult situations and with information about the numerous organizational/campus opportunities for further discussion about interpersonal violence prevention.
Huddle Up Social Media
Join the huddle by engaging with Huddle Up members via social media.