At camp, children enjoy a different kind of independence compared to school recess, but unfortunately, neither a grassy playground nor the presence of nature at camp can completely stop bullying. Children can, unfortunately, still be subject to degrees of teasing and while there’s no definite way to stop bullying for good, there are ways to tackle the situation early on. Here are 5 Tips to prevent instances of bullying at your camp.
Prepare By Being Aware & Develop Parental Agreements
Have your parents been asked if their child was bullied before? Pre-determined information can help assess a situation quicker than without any background knowledge. One way this can be done is to send out a brief questionnaire that is both formative and aware of the sensitivity of bullying via the Email & Communication Tools feature to parents. The camper profile page feature makes a great place for storing this feedback.
Another suggestable action is to affirm a parental agreement. Uniting parents under a mutual understanding can set a strong groundwork for an anti-bullying campaign at your summer camp. One way to make this work is to release a signed form of consent, agreeing that bullying is an intolerable act that should not be treated lightly. This can be carried out by Campsite’s Email & Communication Tools feature. Create a template using this tool with a clear concise message on where your camp stands on bullying and send it out months in advance.
Train Counselors For A “Bully Watch”
Some of the telltale signs of a bully are expressions of aggression such as entitlement, anger, or acts of isolating others. However, it may also help to identify shy children first, whose anxious personalities are sometimes more easily identifiable. Some bullies are obvious, but others can display qualities that are respectable (think Angelica from Rugrats or Eddie from Leave It To Beaver) leading them to fade under the radar of watchful eyes. It never hurts to take it one step further and notify a member of your staff in real time on bully prevention with our User Management & Email Notifications feature. Mention news articles that touch on the cause and effects of bullying, as well as that, drive a reminder that bullying is both a serious and sensitive issue.
Promote Positivity In Relationships Among Staff
Think of the bully. What drives them to act the way they do and what can prevent this attitude? Think of the bullied victim. What drives them to be so overly introverted and what can be done to break that shell? One of the best solutions to bring out the best in both types is to make sure the camp staff itself exudes a welcoming atmosphere. Show that the counselors are people campers can approach and that they also avoid the formation of cliques. Children are known to mimic the actions of adults. If they see camp counselors forming groups then chances are they’ll want to do the same… Your staff behaviors can have an influence on both the bully and the victim to feel comfortable with their unfortunate habits if they feel vindicated.
Tell Your Campers Directly
It can be done as soon as an opening day, but making sure to include a direct talk about bullying is highly recommended. It would also be a benefit to have camp counselors help in the process of delivering the message you want to reach your adolescent audience. The style of the message can be performed in a variety of different ways. It can be a short and clear speech, a personal story shared by a staff or a cooperative game with a clear moral against bullying that will be discussed among campers afterward.