BADRAP Rescue Jam

BADRAP: You probably know them as the group who helped evaluate, socialize, train, and place the band of Pit Bulls confiscated from the Michael Vick compound in 2007. The organization, however, has been promoting humane education and advocacy since long before then. In fact, in the 14 years since its inception, BADRAP has been credited with altering the perceptions and lives of Pit Bull types — and humans — all over the country. And this spring will mark their first Rescue Jam summit: two days of conversation and demos designed to equip shelters with capable, knowledgeable staff and volunteers: people primed to create happier lives for all dogs.

What it is
The Rescue Jam is an interactive weekend workshop, held May 4 and 5 in Oakland, California, and led by the BADRAP crew. The goal? Provide 501c3 rescues with sound techniques for running a more effective, fun, life-saving organization. (Really — “fun”? Yeah, more on that in the why we chose it section.)

A volunteer cues “look” before an eager pup gets a turn with the flirt pole (photo, courtesy of BADRAP).

The conference promises to address some of the most difficult — but surmountable — challenges facing rescue and advocacy teams today, including fundraising, successful adoption strategies, dog behavior trouble-shooting and management, kennel enrichment, and community outreach.

Why we chose it
Since its 1999 founding by Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer, BADRAP has done an awful lot right. Their education- and awareness-focused model has proved instrumental in changing Pit Bull perception for the better (and more accurate). Live-release rates among Pits and Pit mixes have increased, and organizations formerly unwilling to speak out on behalf of “Pit Bull types” have reversed their policies. Hooray!

This isn’t simply luck or timing — it’s effective strategy in action. BADRAP’s Facebook page is teeming with activity and fans, they boast a robust foster network, and volunteers remain committed and hard working. Now, they’re explicitly inviting representatives from the greater sheltering world to capitalize on their successes, sharing best practices, resources, and tools for the benefit of all shelter animals.

No spoiler here, animal rescue can be an exhausting, heartbreaking undertaking. But for an organization to hold any hope of longevity, humor and fun are essential. BADRAP walks the walk in this area too. Training your humans (as well as your dogs) must be enjoyable. Not sure how? Check out their upbeat music videos that just happen to provide easy-to-understand, accessible training tips.

What else…
The Rescue Jam is intentionally priced in the extremely affordable realm. We love that for less than what you’d spend on a dinner for two in San Francisco, you can bring profound, sustainable improvements to your shelter and facilitate better relationships between the animals and people in your community. While implementation isn’t a piece of cake, the first step — figuring out the “how” — is even harder. And BADRAP has done that for you.

“It’s the conference we wish we would’ve had available back when we started BADRAP and covers everything from building a solid foster home base to battling compassion fatigue,” said Reynolds. “We expect this to be a lively event with great networking opportunities. If everyone goes home feeling recharged, inspired and armed with helpful info for the work they do, we’ll have done our job.”

Interested in attending the BAD RAP Rescue Jam in May? Attendees must either run a 501c3 or have authorization from management to represent their group. Get all the details.