Employee Spotlight: Tara Stoudt

We have amazing employees at California Casualty. The Employee Spotlight is a new series aiming to highlight those talented individuals that make up our successful company culture and community. From human resource recruiters and learning and development trainers to claims adjusters, marketers, customer support specialists, partner relations, sales representatives, and beyond; each week, we’ll highlight a new team member, so you can get to know us better and see how our employees make us who we are as a company. 

This edition of the Employee Spotlight will feature our Field Marketing Manager, Tara Stoudt

Tara has been with for 2 and a half years and works remotely in the Field for the Eastern Pennsylvania Region (Northeastern, Eastern, and Mideastern).

Let’s get to know Tara!

Employee Spotlight

 

What made you want to work as a Field Marketer for California Casualty?

I’m a self-starter and liked that the Field Marketing Manager position was an opportunity to create and manage my success.

I also wanted to have a better work-life balance and CalCas provided that for me too!

 

What is your favorite part about your job?

Our members and leaders: everyone that I get to interact with daily keeps everyday fun and exciting. I love that my job is never boring!

CalCas cares about us as individuals and our overall well-being. It is nice to work for a company that values their employees and members.

I also enjoy the flexibility of planning my schedule and what we do for members like our Music and Arts Grant. Presenting multiple grants last school year was so rewarding and meaningful for me because I was involved in those programs when I was in school.

 

What have you learned in your position at California Casualty?

I have learned how to read people and their needs, the amazing work that our members do, and more about myself.

 

What are your favorite activities to do outside of the office?

I’m a self-proclaimed foodie and enjoy cooking and eating; a lot of eating! My favorite meal to make is Chicken Parmesan.

I’m also a music junkie so I love to go to concerts, play guitar & ukulele, and make custom playlists for my friends and family.

Top 3 Desert Island Albums:

    • “Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles” John Mayer
    • “Rumors” Fleetwood Mac
    • “Take Care” Drake

 

Anything else you would like the audience to know about you?

I grew up in Pennsylvania but lived in South Carolina for four years while attending college at Coastal Carolina University. Go Chants!

I have a mild obsession with eyeglasses and own enough pairs to wear a different one every day for two weeks.

I LOVE dogs; I want to pet every dog I see!

I’m not a big movie fan and prefer TV shows.

Top 3 Desert Island TV Shows:

    • Parks and Recreation
    • Grimm
    • Bones

 

 

If you want to learn more about Tara or are interested in a career at California Casualty, connect with her on LinkedIn! Or visit our careers page at https://www.calcas.com/careers

Tips for Traveling with a Toddler

Tips for Traveling with a Toddler

Traveling with a toddler is always an adventure — no matter where you go!

In observance of Child Passenger Safety Week, we’ve compiled a safety checklist for trips near and far. And because we care about your mental health (wink), we’ve also included some parental survival strategies for good measure.

Plan your getaway and go make some great road trip memories!

 

Safety First

  1. Make sure your car’s road-ready – A lot can happen out there, so be sure to get your car serviced ahead of time. Tires, oil, engine fluids, wipers — make sure they’re all in tip-top shape.
  2. Get a car seat inspection – If you have any doubts about whether your car seat’s installed properly, you can book an appointment with a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in your community by visiting here (use the search tool at the bottom). While you’re at it, register your seat online so you can get notified in case of a safety recall.
  3. Guard against heatstroke – Heatstroke can occur at any time of year, in any condition, and in any community. Protect your child by taking them with you instead of leaving them in the car alone and always looking in your car before locking. Keep your vehicle locked when not in use (and keys away from curious little hands).
  4. Eliminate back over risk – Tragically, many children are killed or injured by cars backing out of driveways and parking spaces. There are many precautions you can take as a driver and ways you can protect your children against a backover accident — see the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s list here.
  5. Don’t leave them alone in the car – Even if you need to run into the store for “just a minute” it’s better to be safe than sorry. From heat stroke to foul play to your child getting loose in the car, the risk of leaving them in the car far outweighs any savings in time or trouble.
  6. Make sure you have roadside assistance – Out of mind when you don’t need it, priceless when you do — roadside assistance is especially important when traveling with young ones. It usually covers towing to a service station, battery jumping, flat tire repairs, unlocking car doors, and a range of other catastrophe rescues.
  7. Pack your first aid kit – Bruises, scrapes, stings, sunburns, and splinters are just as likely to happen away from home. Be ready with your kit, and maybe even refresh your first aid and CPR skills.
  8. Prevent power window injuries – Keep little fingers, hands, and wrists safe by using the power window locks, making sure toddlers are secure in their car seats, and teach them not to play with the switches.
  9. Secure the seat belts – Keep your child from getting entangled in seat belts by securing the loose ones within their reach. Ensure they’re restrained in their car seat at all times while in the car.

 

Sanity-Savers for You

  1. Separate the kids – It’s inevitable: if you’re traveling with more than one kid, they’re going to fight at some point. Get ahead of the inevitable by seating them as far from each other as possible. Obviously, the bigger the car, the easier this is.
  2. Take breaks – Kids need to move. Heck, adults need to move! If you can look for parks or playgrounds, all the better — but any place that lets you stretch your legs, move around and break up the monotony will work.
  3. Prep your hygiene arsenal – Make sure to pack plenty of potty supplies, wipes, tissues, and paper towels (not to mention cleaning supplies for spills and food accidents).
  4. Kid-ify your itinerary – Plan your trip with your kid(s) in mind. This means taking nap schedules and energy peaks/valleys into account, and planning out when you’ll arrive at destinations (and what those are), when will be best for the multi-hour highway time, etc.
  5. Stock up on healthy snacks – Having nutritious snacks on hand prevents you from desperation-buying chips at the gas station or sitting through a sugar crash tantrum. Raw veggies, fruit, trail mix, crackers, and low-sugar baked goods are usually winners.
  6. Don’t forget the entertainment – Keeping toys and books close to your toddler will allow you to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. If your car has a screen, bring in-flight entertainment! Finally, playing road games is a favorite, no matter the generation.
  7. Bring binkies and blankies – It’s important to pack some comfort from home if you’ll be gone for any length of time. Blankies and binkies might calm your child like nothing else in the midst of the excitement and new surroundings.

Prepping ahead of time will make any road trip smoother, but it does wonders for traveling with toddlers.

 

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Booster Seats – When, Why and How

Booster Seats – When, Why and How

Booster seats were designed for that critical time when a child has outgrown their car seat but isn’t yet tall or heavy enough to be safe in a seat belt alone.

Here’s a primer on the different booster types, tips for buying and installing one, and help on determining when it’s safe to transition your child out of the booster for good.

 

Booster Seat Types

There are 4 types of boosters, differentiated by your child’s needs and also your preferred functionality.

Backless Booster Seat – Boosts the child’s height so that the seat belt fits properly. Best for cars that have headrests.

Booster Seat with High Back – Like the first seat type, this raises the child’s height so as to ensure a proper seat belt fit, but it provides neck and head support.

Combination Seat – Accommodates a child’s growth by transitioning from a forward-facing seat with a harness into a booster.

All-in-One Seat – Like the combination seat, this one transitions as well, but goes from rear-facing seat, to forward-facing, and finally to a booster.

Whatever style you choose, make sure the seat has a guide for your car’s shoulder belt, so that it lies across their torso correctly. Also, make sure the guide allows the belt to retract easily. Some seats have clips, wings, and even adjustable bases, all of which further tailor to your child’s height/weight and the specifics of your vehicle.

Learn more about seat types at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) page.

 

 

Tips on Buying and Installing

Buying a booster seat

  • Always buy new, as used seats may not fit your child correctly or could even be unsafe.
  • If your child weighs less than 40 lbs, a combination seat may be your best bet.
  • Avoid seats with a reclining feature as they can put your child at an increased risk of injury in an accident.

Installing the seat

  • Like car seats, boosters should only be installed in the back seat.
  • The safest spot is in the center of the rear seat — which best protects against side-impact crashes — but only if your vehicle has a lap and shoulder belt in the center. If there’s only a lap belt, put the seat on the passenger side so you can better see your child from the driver’s seat.
  • If using a combination seat, use the anchoring system. This is called the LATCH system, short for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.
  • Use the seat’s belt-positioning clips if it came with them. They ensure that the belt crosses your child’s chest correctly.
  • Check out these videos by the NHTSA for instructions on properly installing high-back boosters, backless boosters, combination boosters, and all-in-one boosters.

 

 

A Checklist: When Can They Graduate Out of a Booster?

According to the NHTSA, more than 25% of kids aged 4 to 7 are transitioned out of a booster seat too soon. The organization recommends that children continue using a booster until they’re at least 4 feet 9 inches tall AND 8 to 12 years old. They should also have outgrown the seat manufacturer’s weight and height recommendations.

If you can answer “yes” to all of the below when your child is sitting on the vehicle seat, then they can move from a booster to seat belts only.

  • Is their back flat against the seat back?
  • Do their knees comfortably bend at the seat’s edge?
  • Does the shoulder belt lie between their neck and shoulder?
  • Does the lap belt lie against their hip bones/tops of thighs?
  • Can they remain comfortable for the whole trip? (i.e. without fidgeting, sliding, or pushing the belt out of position)

We know that boosters can be a hassle and that you’re probably fielding the “Do I still have to use the booster seat?” question a few times a week — but hang in there! Graduating your child when they’re actually ready to leave the booster is much safer for your precious cargo — and may be closer than you think.

 

Booster seats? Check. Need tips on car seats? Check out our blog post here.

 

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

 

10 Zoom Games for Your Virtual Class

10 Zoom Games for Your Virtual Class

Even while remote learning kids (and teachers) need a break. Are you looking for some fun and engaging activities to do with your students online?

Here are some easy Zoom games that can be played to get your class thinking, while having fun and getting to know their virtual classmates!

 

1. Go Find…(Great to get the wiggles out!)

– Set a timer for 20 seconds

– Give kids a description of an item- blue, spikey, round, stringy, etc.

– Tell them to go find something that matches the description

– Kids that don’t find anything or don’t make it in time are out

– Make descriptions harder or time shorter as you keep going

– Last one left is the winner

 

 

2. Pictionary

– Load Zoom’s whiteboard feature

– Send a private message to a child on what they will be drawing

– Set a timer

– Have the child start drawing

– Whoever guesses the drawing within the time frame gets a point!

– Most points wins

 

 

3. Name, Place, Animal, or Thing

– Say a Letter

– Kids must think of a Name, Place, Animal, or Thing that starts with that letter

– Whoever writes it in the chatbox first wins that round and gets a point

– Most points wins

 

 

4. Charades (Great to get the wiggles out!)

– Divide students into 2 teams

– Choose an activity (try using these Charades cards on Quizlet!)

– Private message the student who will be acting out the charade

– Set your timer

– Have the student act out the charade

– If their team can’t guess it within the time limit, the other team gets the chance to guess (or a point)

 

 

5. Zoom Out

– Choose a high-resolution color photo (4k pixels or more) of a common object or animal

– Zoom in really close to any part of the image

– Continue to Zoom out a little more every 30 seconds until someone guesses it

– First person to guess it right gets a point

– Most points wins

 

 

6. The Memory Game

– Make a tray full of random items (crayons, string, erasers, tape, pencils, snacks, etc.)

– Move the tray into view of the camera

– Give students 10-20 seconds to memorize the tray

– Move the tray out of sight and take away one item

– Move the tray back into view

– See who can name the missing item first

– Winner gets a point

– Most points wins

 

 

7. Simon Says (Great to get the wiggles out!)

– Make all students stand up

– Say, “Simon Says” and say an action

– All kids will repeat the action

– If you say to do an action without saying Simon says and kids do the action, they are out

– Last one standing is the winner

 

 

8. 4 Corners

– Students grab a piece of paper and a pen

– They will write a number 1-6 on their paper and hold it up

– Teacher will roll the dice

– When it lands on a number, the students who wrote that number are out

– Last one standing is the winner

 

 

9. Scattergories

– Use this free game generator

– Send each student a link

– Find the word that starts with all the categories

– Must start with the letter that is pictured

– Have students write their points down from each round

– Most points at the end wins

 

 

10. 5 Second Rule

– Download the app Tuku Tuku – 5 Second Challenge

– Share your screen

– Choose the order which students will play and start the game

– Ask students to give 3 answers to each category on-screen within 5 seconds

– Whoever can’t answer or reaches the time limit is out

– Winners move on to the next round

– Last one standing wins

 

 

BONUS GAME: Try a Virtual Escape Room!

These will run a little longer than the other virtual games (give at least 45 mins) and don’t necessarily have to be on Zoom, but are super fun and engaging for students. Here’s how they can play:

– Divide students into groups

– Look over and choose rooms from this kid-friendly list

– Assign each group a different room

– Team to escape first wins

 

What are you doing for brain breaks in your virtual classroom?

Let us know in the comments below! 🙂

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

 

Employee Spotlight: Bonnie Harber

We have amazing employees at California Casualty. The Employee Spotlight is a new series aiming to highlight those talented individuals that make up our successful company culture and community. From human resource recruiters and learning and development trainers to claims adjusters, marketers, customer support specialists, partner relations, sales representatives, and beyond; each week, we’ll highlight a new team member, so you can get to know us better and see how our employees make us who we are as a company. 

This edition of the Employee Spotlight will feature our Senior Field Marketing Manager, Bonnie Harber

Bonnie has been with for over 5 years and works remotely in the Field for the Central New Jersey Region (Monmouth, Middlesex, Mercer, and Ocean County).

Let’s get to know Bonnie!

Employee Spotlight

 

What made you want to work as a Field Marketer for California Casualty?

I’m motivated by people. This position was a perfect match because it is all about building relationships with people. Throughout my time here, I’ve been able to build many long-lasting relationships externally and internally.

 

What is your favorite part about your job?

I love working with our American Heroes. This is the most rewarding aspect of my job. I’m able to serve those who serve the community on a daily basis.

I absolutely love my job at California Casualty. The company really treats their employees like family. I always feel that my efforts are acknowledged and appreciated.

 

What have you learned in your position at California Casualty?

I’ve learned a lot about building relationships and how valuable it is to listen and use an outward mindset. This has helped me both personally and professionally.

 

What are your favorite activities to do outside of the office?

 I enjoy spending time with my husband, two kids, and dog outside of the office. We love to walk and ride bikes to the beach.

In addition, I enjoy doing house projects (interior design is one of my many passions).

 

Anything else you would like the audience to know about you?

I married my brother’s best friend from childhood. We’ve been married since Nov. 2007

I have a daughter (Abbie, 11 years-old) and son (Jacob, 8 years-old)

I have a 4-month-old charcoal Labrador Retriever

We live in the same town we grew up in. My kids both went to the same elementary school as me.

I love running. I used to run track and cross country in high school and college. I occasionally participate in local road races with my daughter.

 

 

If you want to learn more about Bonnie or are interested in a career at California Casualty, connect with her on LinkedIn! Or visit our careers page at https://www.calcas.com/careers

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