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Coming up on Connections: Monday, May 20, 2024

A firefighter wearing a helmet and grey jacket with yellow stripes and the letters BKPFD uses a hose to spray water on a large fire
Matt Kelly
BKPFD controlled burn

First hour: Understanding the challenges facing volunteer fire and EMS departments

Second hour: Longtime local and USA Basketball coach Scott Fitch on the influence of money in youth sports

When you or someone you know has an emergency, chances are some members of the emergency response team will include volunteers. According to FEMA data, fire and EMS departments across the country are struggling with volunteer recruitment and retention. In addition, the data shows the average age of volunteers is increasing, training demands can be difficult to meet, and some volunteers struggle with work-life balance. What does the situation look like in our region? This hour, we focus on EMS volunteering in the Finger Lakes. Our guests discuss the nature of their work, how it has changed, the challenges they face, and the value of their service in 2024. Our guests:

  • Nancy Oppel, chief of the Branchport Keuka Park Fire Department
  • Matt Kelly, captain of EMS in the Branchport Keuka Park Fire Department
  • Mike Sands, former deputy chief of the Brighton Fire Department, and new member of the Branchport Keuka Park Fire Department
  • Bill DiFabio, first assistant chief of the Branchport Keuka Park Fire Department

Then in our second hour, longtime local basketball coach Scott Fitch’s story is one for the books. In additional to coaching at Fairport High School and being named National Player of the Year when he played at SUNY Geneseo, Fitch is a coach for USA Basketball. Dozens of his former players have made their way to the NBA. Throughout his career, Fitch has earned countless admirers for his ability to improve an athlete’s play, while also being able to focus on what makes them a better person. Fitch has seen the expanding influence of private travel sports programs that many families can’t afford. This hour, he joins us to discuss the pressure on young athletes and families, the money in youth sports, and what makes a great coach. Our guest:

  • Scott Fitch, longtime basketball coach for Fairport High School and USA Basketball
Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.

Connections with Evan Dawson

Connections is our daily, live talk show. It airs live weekdays, noon-2 p.m., and re-airs at 9 and 10 p.m. You can also find us wherever you find your podcasts.

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