7 Ways to Deal With Bullying at Summer Camp
Summer can be an exciting time - school’s out, the weather is warm, and you might even be going away to a summer camp. Summer camp can be an amazing experience and a way to create memories that you’ll treasure forever. However, sometimes you can still encounter bullying at summer camp, just like you could at school or any other social function.
If you do experience bullying at summer camp, there are a few ways you could handle it (and possibly prevent it). Here are seven tips that we recommend for dealing with, and preventing, bullying at summer camp.
7 Tips for Handling Bullying at Summer Camp
1. Seek support.
If you find yourself being bullied, make sure to seek support from someone in charge. Being at summer camp may be difficult because you may not know the counselors or leaders. Try to find one person you trust and feel comfortable approaching if you are being bullied. This person can be your go to person if things get too difficult for you. Many of the camp counselors are there to help you and make you feel comfortable during your stay. However, if you’re too afraid to seek out the counselors at camp, you might want to reach out to your parents for guidance.
2. Talk to someone.
It’s important that you don’t keep silent about bullying, whether you or someone you know is experiencing it. You should share with someone, particularly a trusted friend or camp counselor, what is going on. If you feel comfortable, tell the person, “I am being bullied. I don’t know what to do, but I feel upset and nervous. I was hoping you could help me with this situation.” Hopefully they will be able to give you support and/or help you figure out how to stop the bullying.
3. Be persistent.
If the first person you tell about the bullying doesn’t help, tell another counselor, team leader, or authority figure. Keep telling people until someone does something. You shouldn’t have to deal with bullying at summer camp, and the authority figures are there to help keep you safe. If you feel like no one will help, reach out to your parents. They’ll be able to guide you on your next steps.
4. Walk away or call for help.
One of the best things you can do when you are being bullied is to give a comeback and then walk away. People who bully get satisfaction from the reaction. If you have a comeback and walk away, you control the situation by being empowered to say something and then removing yourself from your bully.
If you are being physically bullied, walking away may not be enough. Instead, if someone is hurting you physically, call out for help. An adult or authority figure should be nearby who can help you.
5. Empower yourself.
You never want to ignore the bully. You DO want them to know that what they’re doing doesn’t bother you. Bullies want a response from you, whether it’s in person or online. The best response is no response, other than using ‘comebacks’.
If you’re experiencing bullying online when you’re at camp, try using a comeback, or not responding, blocking them, and deleting their posts.
Some other tips for handling your bully include:
- Use comebacks (some good examples can be found here)
- You may want to turn and start talking to someone or put in earphones.
- When the bully harasses you and calls you names, look them in the eyes, LAUGH and walk away without any additional conversation.
6. Avoid being alone with the bully.
People often don’t bully when others are around, especially authority figures. Though you won’t be around counselors the entire time you’re at camp, you can try to limit the amount of time you are alone with the bullies. Try to keep a few friends around, or stay within view of counselors or leaders in case the bully starts bothering you during your down time.
7. Stand up for someone if you witness bullying.
You can make a difference in someone else's camp experience by helping them out if they are being bullied. Instead of not doing anything, if you see someone who is being bullied, go over and talk to them. Be an upstander and help the person being bullied redirect their attention to a friendly face.
If you don’t know the person who’s being bullied, don’t give the bully any satisfaction, i.e. don’t laugh at what they’re saying, express that you don’t like the bully’s behavior, and walk away from the situation if it seems like the bully is trying to draw a crowd. Get help from a camp counselor or trusted leader if you think the person being bullied is in danger.
If you, or someone you know, is bullied consistently at summer camp, at school, or anywhere else, seek help.
At STOMP Out Bullying, we offer what’s called a HelpChat Line for teens and youth, aged 13-24 years old. The STOMP Out Bullying™ HelpChat Line is a free and confidential online chat that helps youth ages 13-24 with issues around bullying and cyberbullying; as well as providing support to youths who may be at risk of suicide.
The goal of the STOMP Out Bullying™ Live HelpChat Lineis to help you reduce the stress, depression and fear you are feeling as a result of being bullied and to empower you to make healthy decisions.
Summer is supposed to be a care-free, fun season, but if you encounter bullying at summer camp (or anywhere else) be sure to reach out for help. You deserve to enjoy your summer to the fullest and feel safe.