When federal leaders began a major effort to raise awareness about bullying prevention, it seemed that for every parent, teacher and community advocate who supported our mission, there was another to insist that bullying was either a normal part of growing up or “kids just being kids.”
Eleven years later, a lot has changed.
At the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), we’ve done our part by connecting leaders on the ground with the resources they need to educate the public about the effects of bullying behavior and how to prevent it in schools and communities.
This summer, we continue our work.
Through a partnership with the American Camp Association (ACA), we are supplying free bullying prevention materials to more than 100 of ACA’s Explore 30 Camps. Explore 30 is a new ACA program designed to address the threat that children who are not engaged in challenging, interesting, and fun activities in the summertime will return to school in the fall having forgotten much of what they learned in the previous academic year.
To support the program’s mission of providing youth with at least 30 minutes of reading time per day, we are sending activity guides and comic books to campers in more than 35 states. Our goal is to prepare a new generation of leaders with the information and resources they need to stand up and speak out against bullying, when and where they see it.
We are already seeing signs of success.
For example, nine miles north of Santa Cruz, California, more than 1,000 kids at Camp Redwood Glen are spending part of their summer months using the materials to discuss how the camp’s emphasis on life skills and self-reliance relate to the issues of bullying and bullying prevention.
Across the country, in Antioch, Tennessee, campers at the YMCA’s Camp Widjiwagan are using the materials to engage in a similar conversation about how to connect these issues with personal growth and service opportunities.
Farther north, in Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania, children at Camp Speers and Camp Eljabar will use them as a springboard for learning ways they can foster positive personal development by standing up for children who are bullied and being more than a bystander.
To order free bullying prevention materials for your camp, school or community, please call our Information Center at 1-888-ASK-HRSA.