One thing that we emphasize at Maine Arts Camp is an emphasis on creating an inclusive community where children and staff are accepted for who they are. We work hard on discouraging bullying and cliques. Chris Thurber is a camp professional who is at many camping conferences running educational sessions. He is one of my favorites as I learn a lot and he is entertaining at the same time. It must come from all of his years as a camp counselor and leader! I just read an article that Chris wrote about bullying at camp. Chris is right that camp is a place where bullying can be used as an educational tool to help campers grow. Modeling positive behavior from staff and staff complimenting campers on proper behavior is a start. As camp directors, we hope that campers have a positive growth experience at camp and that includes all campers. Sometimes we are not equipped to deal with behaviors that are consistently hurtful (physically or emotionally) to other campers, but most of the time we can work with the campers and help them become more empathetic and caring. Chris brought up one fact that was especially pertinent, that most bullies have been bullied. If we keep that in mind, it will help us as camp directors and camp counselors to find a way to relate better to our campers and what they're going through in their lives.
owner of Camp Finders & MySummers
owner/director of Maine Arts Camp