Camp Safety Spotlight: Preventing Bullyingbeing there // on Tuesday July 7, 2015
Of the numerous activities organizations have planned this summer, many will likely be hosting camp sessions. Ranging from one day to weeks of entertainment, camps serve as a fun highlight during a child’s summer.
There are many ways to ensure a kid enjoys their time at camp, one of which includes limiting risk factors. And, although it may not be thought of very often, one important risk factor that shouldn’t be overlooked is bullying. Bullying has been a hot topic lately, and it doesn’t only happen in plain sight. It also can hide behind technology, as cyberbullying has become an easy way for children of all ages to target others, and it can have tragic, long-lasting consequences.
Fortunately, there are ways you can help limit the issue at your camp and help everyone at camp have an enjoyable experience:
- Educate and train your staff and volunteers. In order to tackle the issue of bullying, your staff and volunteers will need to understand what constitutes bullying and how to recognize it. In some cases, it may be beneficial to bring in professionals to assist in training. Overall, the adults at your camp should be knowledgeable on the subject, able to identify bullying and effectively handle these tough situations.
- Set the bar high. To address the concern with children, set rules and expectations that don’t allow behavior that could lead to bullying. See that staff and volunteers are consistently reminding children that bullying is unacceptable. Additionally, make sure your camp environment is safe, and create a culture that revolves around respect.
- Address concerns immediately. If you notice something that represents bullying, or could lead to it, don’t ignore the situation. Handle issues as they happen and don’t wait, as it can get out of hand quickly. Something that seems innocent now could become serious later.
- Engage with parents and children. Children are not the only ones to be addressed in a bullying situation or the prevention of it. Utilizing parents and other adults creates a team environment with a community working together to put a stop to the issue. Educating everyone on the issue may lead to more positive results.
- Be fair to those involved. When it comes to handling a situation, you should be fair to all those involved. This includes speaking with children individually, listening to each and not presuming. Individuals involved include ones committing the act of bullying, those being bullied and bystanders.
Bullying and cyberbullying is a serious issue that is not only present at camps. To combat the problem, it is beneficial for adults to take steps to stop it before it starts. For more information about bullying and how you can prevent it, check out the National Education Association, stopbullying.gov or the American Psychological Association.