Maine Camps Movie Corner: The DUFF and #MeanStinks Take On Bullying
February 19, 2015, by Kristy
Maine Camps Movie Corner: The DUFF and #MeanStinks Take On Bullying
February 19, 2015, by Kristy

image courtesy

Tomorrow, The Duff comes out in theaters – have you seen the trailer yet? No? That’s ok, watch it here!

As you can see, The Duff takes a funny look at a serious issue, the type of bullying that all-too-frequently takes place at schools, online, and even sometimes at summer camp. This is why Maine camps have so many preventative measures in place to try and stop bullying before it starts (but more on that later). Producers of the movie partnered up with Secret’s Mean Stinks initiative, which is specifically focused on ending bullying between girls (but let’s face it – we know guys get bullied too). Their “gang of good” has spread over 2 million “acts of nice” in the name of ending girl-to-girl bullying. They host the annual “Biggest Assembly Ever,” a streamed event that was watched this February by over 20,000 students. They give awards to the nicest schools in America – it is all very nice and good and awesome.

VIDEO >> Check out The Duff and #MeanStinks on The Today Show!

As we watch The Duff and laugh, (because come on – Mae Whitman and Ken Jeong? It’s going to be funny) it’s a good opportunity to think about bullying and what part we play in its demise. Summer camp particularly is a place where kids should feel safe and secure, so that they can enjoy all the amazing things camp has to offer. For a few thoughts on anti-bullying and summer camp, we reached out to Dr. Joel Haber, a bullying prevention expert, and the bullying consultant for the American Camp Association. Here’s our quick Q&A with Dr. Haber:

Does bullying take place outside school in the summer?

[Yes, it does,] and that is why summer camps have a responsibility to train staff to deal with it, and let campers know that this behavior will not be tolerated. Camp is especially important because the season is shorter, and the damage can be greater when campers are without many of their supports at home. (Note from Kristy – This is why camp directors and staff are on high alert for bullying behaviors to give campers the best support system possible away from home. More about how Maine Camp Experience member camps handle bullying below)

How can summer camps equip their young staff members to recognize and deal with bullying when it occurs?

The best way to equip young staff members is to train them with role-plays during pre-camp staff training. This allows young staff to get out of their own camper experience and learn how to handle issues like bullying from seasoned adults who have experienced it within the camp setting. Role-playing allows all young staff to practice these skills, which is crucial.

Would you say that camp could actually be a good bullying deterrent in the sense that it gives kids a sense of empowerment and self esteem? 

Camp is seen as a place for empowerment and self-esteem building and that is why bully prevention is essential to make sure that these positive experiences are available for campers. Bullying will prevent opportunities for empowerment and self-esteem if it is not managed and ruin the great opportunity campers want to obtain during the summer. When campers see that bullying is being managed well, they can experience all the wonderful experiences that make summer camp a place for long-lasting relationships. 

All Maine Camp Experience member camps have their own systems in place for dealing with bullying so that each summer kids can have a positive, enriching experience free from the kind of stress that comes with being picked on. Maine camps have a zero tolerance policy of bullying, and start with extensive pre-camp training for staff and early bunk discussions on inclusiveness and unacceptable behaviors. During the camp session, staff members and directors have daily meetings to quickly manage situations, and zero tolerance means that bullies will be sent home. The Maine Camp Experience member camps all extend themselves to make camp a safe, fun, nurturing place for kids in the summer. We all agree – #MeanStinks!!

What would your “act of nice” be? And are you planning on seeing The Duff? If you do, let us know what you think!

Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools

Looking for the perfect Maine camp for your child?  Try out our helpful tool where you can select a camp by choosing: type of camp (girls, boys or coed) and session length (1-8 weeks).  It helps to narrow down a few camps to a manageable list that includes rates.  Then you can research these camps in more depth.  

Next, be sure to contact our Maine Campcierge™ to discuss these camps as well as for free, year-round advice and assistance on choosing a great Maine summer camp for your child.

You can share your own Maine camps memories & expressions of gratitude on our Memories of Camp section of our website.

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