The Waynesville-St. Robert (WSR) youth sports league hosted nearly 50 young athletes for a bullying seminar on Wednesday night.
ST. ROBERT – The Waynesville-St. Robert (WSR) youth sports league hosted nearly 50 young athletes for a bullying seminar on Wednesday night.
Kerry Rayford, WSR youth sports director, invited Jackie Flint, a former middle school counselor of 18 years, to speak to area youth athletes between ages 6 and 12 about the importance of preventing bullying.
"We're trying to help kids learn early that bullying is not acceptable," Flint said. "An event like this is very prominent because everybody wants to win, but there's a difference between joking around and hurtful comments."
Rayford said the reason for the seminar was to "minimize issues" with bullying during the winter sports season.
"[Bullying] is not a problem right now, but I don't want a problem," Rayford said.
Before the seminar began, winter sports coaches met with team members to introduce themselves and interact with one another.
Then, after the children ate a free meal, Flint began a detailed presentation explaining bullying and the many ways it can occur. To ensure the school-age children understood, Flint scheduled several activities that induced team interaction.
"I think [the activities] will be effective if the coaches and parents listening will continue to reiterate [the negative effects of bullying] with [the children]," Flint said. "This is something the adults need to hear."
Activities included children introducing themselves to teammates, listing people children can report bullying incidences to, and writing "bad words" on a piece of paper so the children could recognize how hurtful bullying can become.
Flint said it takes children 21 days to break a habit of bullying, but if adults can keep a child from bullying for that period of time, the practice can be corrected.
Rayford said bullying will not be tolerated in WSR youth sports.
The director also said he expects to host a similar event before each youth sports season to continue highlighting the importance of preventing bullying into the future.
The WSR winter sports season will Dec. 7 and last through Feb. 8, 2014.
For more information about the seminar, or about WSR youth sports, contact Rayford at (573) 451-3344, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org