Camp Casco is a safe space for all campers. As such, there is no room for bullying at any of our camps. We have a zero-tolerance policy on bullying behaviors at camp, and campers who cannot abide by this policy will be asked to leave camp immediately. At Camp Casco, we encourage kindness, respect, and positivity through our points and reward system, through our cabin team-building exercises, and through our camp counselors who serve as positive role models at all times. But we can’t do it alone— we ask for parents' help in ensuring that camp remains a safe place for all. Here are some ways to help us prevent bullying before it starts:
- Teach your child the importance of empathy. A child who is able to understand what it may feel like to be bullied, and can understand and regulate his own emotions, is less likely to bully a child and more likely to be courageous when others are bullied.
- Be a good example of kindness and leadership. Your kids learn a lot about relationships from watching you. Any time you speak to another person in a hurtful or abusive way, you’re teaching your child that bullying is ok.
- Create healthy anti-bullying habits as early as kindergarten. Coach your children on what not to do—hitting, pushing, teasing, and being mean to others. And, if not more importantly, teach your children what to do—kindness, empathy, fair play, and turn-taking are critical skills for good peer relations.
- Talk about what ‘bullying’ means. Not all mean behavior is bullying. Bullying is aggressive behavior by a child or group of children who take advantage of the power they have to hurt or intimidate others. It is deliberate and repeated. It may be verbal abuse (mocking, name calling, threatening remarks) physical abuse (hitting, pushing), social rejection (excluding) or humiliation. There are differences between teasing, rudeness and bullying.
- Set the standard. Tell your kids in no uncertain terms that it’s not normal, okay, or tolerable for them to bully, to be bullied, or to stand by and watch other kids be bullied.
- Encourage your child to come to his or her counselor. Our counselors work hard to build close bonds with campers throughout the week, to help children feel safe coming to us with any sort of problem. You can help your child feel comfortable coming to us with any issues by reminding them that we are here to protect them and ensure their well-being at all times. If your child has any problems with other children, please encourage them to tell the camp counselor they feel most comfortable with right away. We take bullying extremely seriously, and will investigate any complaints of bullying immediately. This can help us address problem behavior before it escalates any further.
Bullying prevention takes a village, and we work in collaboration with parents to keep Camp Casco safe and fun for every child.