Bullying occurs when someone gets hurt or scared by another person. Bullying can be calling someone hurtful names, spreading rumors, being mean, physically hurting someone, excluding others, sending mean texts or photos electronically, or being threatened. Bullying and cyber-bullying are at an all time high and affects millions of students across the country. Bullying has no boundaries, but no one deserves, nor should tolerate being bullied. We must all stand together and speak out against bullying.
Today ends National Bullying Prevention Week. Across our country everyone has been coming together to heighten awareness, in order to help others. Dateline aired a segment called “My Kid Would Never Bully” on March 6th (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032600/). President Obama hosted the first White House conference on bullying and reflected on his own personal experience with bullying. Celebrities are joining forces to speak out – Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Jay Z, just to name a few.
LBMC works diligently not only during the summer, but throughout the year to enforce our no bullying policy. Here are just a few of the ways in which we work to keep Bryn Mawr a safe haven for all of our campers and staff:
- Staff Training: This is a crucial piece of successful bullying prevention. Not only do we address bullying during several sessions at Orientation, but there is on- going training and discussion throughout the summer. We give staff the tools they need to recognize bullying behaviors and train them to set clear expectations with their campers. Conflict Resolution is taught in order to be pro-active. We help girls to be able to communicate with one another in a safe, comfortable, and non-judgmental environment. Most importantly, our directors and leadership staff model appropriate behavior by being present on cabin row, at programs, and in the dining room everyday.
- Girls Circle: This is a nationally recognized model for support groups for girls. It provides a forum for girls to express themselves and their ideas in a safe environment. Several members of our leadership team are certified trainers, and this program is offered to girls ages 8-14. (http://www.girlscircle.com/)
- Conferences: Directors attend conferences to keep up on the latest research and theories on girl’s development, relationships, and aggression. (Girl Meets World Training with Rachel Simmons, Ophelia Project conferences, American Camping Association conferences, etc.)
- Hands on Directors: We are hands on in cabins working with individual campers and are developing relationships so that girls feel comfortable to speak up and to ask for help if they need it. Daily meetings are held with Division Heads and Group Leaders to check on each camper and how they are doing at camp.
- Random Acts of Kindness: Every Friday night, girls come up on stage to acknowledge someone who has done something nice for them.
- Outside Resources: Bob Ditter is a senior level clinical social worker who has worked with over 400 camps. Bob is a year round consultant for Bryn Mawr and works with our leadership team year round. He is also an integral part of staff orientation as well as staff training during the summer. (www.bobditter.com)
We go to great lengths to protect our campers while at camp. The following links might be helpful in recognizing the signs of bullying and in learning about what parents can do to help:
- Joel Haber is a Clinical Psychologist. For 20 years he has worked on the prevention of bullying behaviors in children and adults. For more information please visit http://www.respectu.com/.
- The government has recently launched a website that can be a useful tool for kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators and the community. http://www.stopbullying.gov/.
- Facebook wants to create within its online community one of respect. They have started to create reporting systems and an improved Safety Center. Read more at http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=196123070408483.
- Rachel Simmons is the author of Odd Girls Out and runs the Girls Leadership Institute http://www.rachelsimmons.com.
- The mission of The Ophelia Project is to serve “youth and adults who are affected by relational and other non-physical forms of aggression by providing them with a unique combination of tools, strategies and solutions.” Please visit them at http://www.opheliaproject.org.