TRAINING GROUNDS is all about bringing what I’ve learned in 30+ years of working in child and family serving organizations to leaders and teams who want to better serve their communities.
FOUNDER | TRAINER | AUTHOR
Growing up near the beaches of southern California, James came from a family dedicated to public service and caring for others. He learned to enjoy both hard work (from a paper route as a kid to opening a restaurant with support of his parents before he was 20) and adventure (through scouting and family camping in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California).
A stint as a summer camp counselor led to an expansive career that included real life learning about child and youth development, supporting co-workers, and the value of servant leadership. He was involved in the startup of out-of-school time programs, worked as teacher and principal in two private schools, led a national program of camping and retreats for people with disabilities, and served 15 years as a senior director in a non-profit organization serving kids and families affected by childhood trauma.
He also served on an international working group which established standards in sport for kids participating in community-based initiatives alongside Olympic/Paralympic and World Cup events.
James recognized the potential of leaders and organizations to bring good into the communities they served - and the social havoc they can create without good leadership. So, he returned to the university while working full time as an adult to complete a bachelor’s and master’s degree in organizational leadership. These studies expanded his understanding of developmental psychology, applied ethics, and human relationships – and gave him a foundation to translate solid academics and principles into real life application.
James’s leadership has contributed to advancing professional development of Child and Youth Care workers and improving the quality of care for children, youth, and families. In volunteer roles he has served as president of the Child and Youth Care Certification Board, associate editor for the International Child and Youth Care Network, and on the board of the Association for Children’s Residential and Community Services.
He has been honored with a career achievement award from the National Staff Development and Training Association and the President’s Award from the Association for Child and Youth Care Practice.
James and his wife, Julie, have been married for 24 years and live in southern California where they are raising their three kids. Julie is an award-winning teacher in the local public school district.
James is a thoughtful, insightful and engaging trainer. He makes the material come alive and resonate with participants.
Okpara Rice, MSW | CEO, Tanager Place & Past President, Association of Children's Residential and Community Services
James is bright, creative, and relates to people at all levels with an unusual level of genuineness, respect and kindness. I consider myself honored to be his colleague.
Frank Delano, MSW | President & CEO, Professional Package Training, Inc.
Around the world James is regarded as one of Child and Youth Care’s most insightful practitioners, and has contributed significantly to the growth of learning in the field.
Martin Stabrey | COO, International Child and Youth Care Network (CYC-Net)
James is person-centered, relational, and values each student served in our public schools and programs. I’m grateful for his training which has been such an important part of my own education and leadership.
Bianca Siedenburg Hicks | Educational & Psychological Consultant