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Six Research-Backed Tips for Counselors & Staff to Prevent Bullying at Summer Camp

prevent bullying at summer camp


Summer camps provide a wonderful opportunity for children and teenagers to engage in new experiences, develop important life skills, and build lasting friendships. However, the camp environment also has the potential to foster negative behaviors such as bullying.

Bullying can have a detrimental impact on campers’ mental health, self-esteem, and overall camp experience.

To address this issue, camp counselors and staff must be knowledgeable about successful techniques to prevent bullying at summer camp and manage it if it occurs.

In this article, we will discuss six research-based tips for camp counselors and staff to prevent bullying at summer camp.


1. Promote a Positive Camp Culture

Creating a positive camp culture is essential to prevent bullying. Research suggests that establishing a camp environment based on respect, inclusivity, and acceptance significantly reduces the likelihood of bullying incidents.

prevent bullying at summer camp
kids having fun at camp

Encourage campers to build empathy, celebrate individuality, and embrace diversity. Set clear behavioral expectations and communicate a “zero-tolerance to bullying policy” to campers and staff.

2. Educate and Train Counselors & Staff

Require comprehensive training sessions that educate staff members about the different forms of bullying, its impact on “victims,” and effective intervention strategies to combat bullying. Encourage staff to develop healthy and supportive relationships with campers, as positive connections can diminish bullying and create a safe space for campers to share concerns.

Resources for Staff Training and Education

3. Increase Supervision

Active supervision plays an important role in preventing bullying. Research indicates that increased monitoring and visibility of staff can significantly reduce bullying incidents.

Encourage counselors to be present and engaged in all camp activities, including meals, overnight stays, and free time. In addition to deterring bullying, supervision allows staff members to identify and address any potential issues.

4. Implement Anti-Bullying Policies and Procedures

Develop clear and comprehensive anti-bullying policies to maintain a safe and respectful camp environment. These policies should outline the definition of bullying, the consequences of engaging in bullying behaviors, and the reporting process for campers and staff.

Make sure campers (and their families) are aware of the policies. Tell campers and staff the steps they can take if they witness or experience bullying.

5. Encourage Communication

According to research, campers are more likely to report bullying when they feel comfortable and supported. Encourage campers to share their concerns with staff members they trust.

Assure them that their reports will be taken seriously and handled confidentially.

prevent bullying at summer camp
counselor listening to camper

Regularly emphasize the importance of empathy, respect, and kindness as a proactive strategy to prevent bullying and create a caring and supportive climate among campers and staff.

6. Encourage Peer Support and Empathy

Research shows that promoting peer support and empathy can significantly reduce bullying at camps. Encourage activities that promote cooperation,  teamwork and positive social interaction.

Implement a buddy system or mentorship program where older campers can support and guide younger ones.

Activities and discussions can help campers develop a deeper understanding of others’ feelings and perspectives, leading to a more compassionate camp community.


Camp counselors and staff members have the duty of ensuring the safety and good health of each camper. We can effectively prevent and handle incidents of bullying at summer camp by using research-based strategies to promote a positive environment.

By encouraging empathy and communication, and educating campers and staff about bullying, camps can promote healthy relationships and establish a supportive environment that does not accept bullying.

Staff members can work together to provide a safe and pleasurable experience for all involved in summer camp.

Preventing Bullying at Summer Camp Quiz

Sample Camp Bullying Policy

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