The Girl Scouts are facing bullying head on as they use their “Powered Up: Doing Nothing? Not an Option!” program in local schools. This 8 week program started in the Antlers Intermediate School (Vegher) on February 28th and has been held every Monday from 2:15-3:00 p.m. (except for spring break week).
Through this program an environment is created where girls and adults form a partnership to put an end to bullying. It focuses on the bystanders who make up 85% of the population in bullying situations. The bystanders are encouraged to recognize the strength in their numbers and use it to intervene when they see something is wrong.
Powered Up is focused on preventing the unique relational bulling prevalent among girls. Other programs focus on physical and verbal bullying, but few address relational aggression, the systematic diminishment of a child’s sense of self worth through exclusion, shunning and gossip.
Through this program the girls will learn, in an all girl environment where they will feel safer to share, about what bullying is and what they can do to help prevent it and stop it. Participants create a culture of kindness where they will discuss sensitive issues and begin to identify key aspects of relational aggression.
Also in this program they identify bullying behaviors and develop and practice a plan to effectively intervene when they witness bullying. They are given an opportunity to ask each other for help and support in becoming defenders, which ensures that the curriculum is relevant to the directness of the participants. Most importantly, they learn that when witnessing someone being bullied, doing nothing is not an option!
For more information about bullying and how to recognize the signs and symptoms of bullying, and how to help your kids stand up against bullies visit www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov  or www.bullying.org .