Fifth-graders at Lincoln Elementary School and fourth-graders at Washington Elementary School have learned about dealing with peer pressure by participating in Camp Fire's "Peer Proof" program.
Sue Lewis, assistant director of Camp Glen and self-reliance instructor, taught the five sessions of the program in the fall and is to return in the spring for follow-up work.
Lewis said in the program, students identify what peers are and learn about passive, assertive and aggressive behaviors. The rest of the class is spent focusing on assertive behaviors, she said.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Sue Lewis, assistant director of Camp Glen and self-reliance instructor, talks to Washington Elementary School fourth-graders during the final session of “Peer Proof.” The program ended before winter break.
Children learn different techniques of saying "no" when dealing with negative peer pressure. They participated in role-playing exercises and practiced saying "no" in different situations.
Valli Ridenour, self-reliance coordinator for Camp Fire USA's northwest Ohio council, said the exercises give their peers a chance to push back.
"There's many ways to say 'no,'" she said.
After role playing, Lewis would ask the students about different situations they had been in where they had to deal with peer pressure. She said the class would help give them ideas, and the students were a support system for each other.
Ridenour said the curriculum for "Peer Proof" was created through the national Camp Fire USA program and was put into place in local communities. It is the third year for Camp Fire to offer the program in the Tiffin area, and Lewis has been the instructor for all three years.
"They don't participate, but they're listening," Lewis said about the classroom teachers.
Nicole Long, a fourth-grade teacher at Washington, said it is amazing how the program changed all of her students. Their attitudes towards other students was the biggest change. They realized they couldn't be bullies toward other students, and they were more accepting of each other, she said.
The students enjoy Lewis being in the classroom, Long said.
"The kids really like her," she said.
Camp Fire also offers "I Can Do It" for third-graders and "I'm Safe and Sure" for first-graders, and both have six sessions. Ideally, Lewis said, Camp Fire would love to get in to see children every other year.