GWVA YMCA Bullying Prevention
The Greater Wyoming Valley partnered with Clemson University in 2020 to bring the Olwelus Bullying Prevention Program to all of our locations in the Wyoming Valley. Since then the GWVA YMCA has distributed the program to our A.F.T.E.R. program, our Summer O.F.F. program, summer camp programs at Camp Kresge, Esports, Gymnastics, Youth Programming and Swim Team. We will continue our efforts to improve bullying in all of our locations.
Bullying is deliberate, aggressive and repeated behavior that’s intended to cause physical or emotional harm. The four general types of bullying are:
- Physical bullying is the easiest type to identify, and includes pushing, shoving, tripping, kicking, hitting, slapping, and taking possessions like books or money from the target.
- Verbal bullying includes name calling, teasing, put-downs, threats, and making bigoted or sexist remarks.
- Relational bullying occurs when a bully tries to harm a target by manipulating and damaging the target’s social standing. Behaviors include exclusion, spreading rumors and gossip, and threatening to damage or change the target’s friendships or relationships with others.
- Cyberbullyingis the use of technology like cell phones, computers, web sites and emerging technologies to bully others by embarrassing, humiliating or making fun of the target. Cyberbullying is different from other types of bullying because it can happen 24 hours a day; be sent anonymously; and be shared with a wide audience.
Bullying has a devastating effect on the target. But, did you know that bullying also damages everyone who witnesses it, and even hurts the bullies themselves?
- People who are bullied (targets) are at greater risk for depression, anxiety and other health complaints. Targets tend to have lower grades, participate less in class, and skip or drop out of school. In extreme cases, targets may become violent—in 12 out of 15 school shootings researched by the Secret Service, the shooters had been bullied.
- People who bully others are more likely to engage in other dangerous behaviors like vandalism, shoplifting, skipping and dropping out of school, fighting, and using drugs and alcohol.
- People who witness bullying regularly are more likely to use drugs and alcohol; are at greater risk for depression and anxiety, and are more likely to miss or skip school.
Every member of our community—adults, teens and children—shares the responsibility to ensure that people treat each other with respect and that bullying behaviors will not be condoned or tolerated.
Ways The GWVA Are Preventing Bulling In Our YMCA’s
Cool Down Centers
At the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA and the Greater Pittston YMCA we have created Cool Down Centers in our school age child care rooms. The Cool Down Centers consist of carpets, fidget toys, feeling cards, squish balls, sensory materials and so much more.
At the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA and the Greater Pittston YMCA we have created a Y Store in our school age child care rooms. Our Y Store is a prize cart in which our children can use their “Caring and Kindness” points to purchase items they want.
Team Building Bulling Prevention
At the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA and the Greater Pittston YMCA we have created Team Building Bully Prevention in our school age child care programs. Each week we take the school age program into the gym and introduce them to a team building activity that strengths them as a group and teaches them that working together is the key to success day in and day out.
Esports- Bulling Prevention
We were very fortunate enough to be able to participate in the YUSA national Esport Piolet. When this program came to us, we thought it would be a great program to add Bullying Prevention to. We added the posters to the room and the athletes took part in-group meetings out of the Classroom Meetings books as well participated in team building activities and activities inside of the BOPP training kits (slamwich, color ball, body part).
Community Outreach- Highmark Passport
Our YMCA is known to collaborate with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and when they came to us with the idea to create a passport for children to complete around the city we thought that tying in Bullying Prevention would be a great idea! We took one of our favorite anti- bullying books, The Kindness Books and had it blown up and posted to a local business for all to see while completing their passport
Community Outreach- Healthy Kids Day 2021
Each year our Y takes part in the national YMCA event, HKD. This year we were able to hold the event outside and it was fantastic! One of the tables was a Bullying Prevention Table and at the table kids were able to hear read aloud’s of the book, The Juice Box Bully. After they heard the story they were able to enjoy a juice box and create their own juice box and write reasons how they can stop bullying.
Mike McElhinney, Branch Executive Director
Ashlee Rittenhouse, Youth Director