As October comes to an end, our minds have shifted towards the Halloween holiday, raking endless fall leaves and turning our clocks back for Daylight Savings Time. But October holds another important purpose-and not just for pink ribbons-but for Bullying Prevention. October is now recognized as National Bullying Prevention Month, an effort that was begun by the PACER National Bullying Prevention Institute to encourage everyone to take an active role in the bullying prevention movement.
We love their campaign theme: The End of Bullying Begins with Me, that reminds us all not to stand by and let bullying happen in our homes, classrooms, playgrounds, and especially not camps. In our minds, The End of Bullying Begins with Camp.
Camps across the US have joined together with the American Camp Association (ACA) to take a stand against bullying. Camp directors are taking bullying more seriously than ever, with increased staff training and parent education on this topic.
The bullying prevention web page on ACA’s site has a number of resources for both camp professionals and parents on this important subject, including a couple of statistics that take your breath away, such as:
“Bullying is the most common form of violence in our society. Between 15 percent and 30 percent of students are bullies or victims.”
According to an article available on the ACA site, there are 3 types of bullying: physical, verbal and relational.
Falling into this last category is cyberbullying: bullying that occurs via text, email, social media, or other electronic format.
In a recent article by Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, in the Huffington Post about bullying, she notes: “In our digital age, cyberbullying — harassment by peers, even total strangers via unwanted texts, Facebook posts, tweets and other social media communications — has become a particular problem for young girls, often with tragic consequences. And unlike traditional school-yard bullying, cyberbullies can attack their victims at any time, robbing them not only of their sense of self-worth, but of the feeling of security that comes with having a “safe space.”
Dr. Joel Haber, a clinical psychologist, consultant for the American Camp Association, and a nationally recognized bullying expert, offers additional tips and advice on bullying on his website.
Summer camps, and certainly our Maine Camp Experience camps, are committed to making camps a safe place for all children, and a bully-free experience. In fact, there is a zero tolerance bullying policy at MCE camps. We suggest that you ask your camp director about their camp’s bullying policy, its staff training in this area, and what they suggest you speak to your child about regarding bullying prior to the camp season.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge™, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.