Galileo Camps are “Innovation Camps” with weekly themes; the kids imagine, create, and invent based on the weekly theme. For the time that la Niña was in this camp, it was medieval week. So, they made stained glass windows, catapults, and learned about the medieval era. When asked what she thought of the camp, she replied meh and thought it was designed for kids younger than 8-years.
There was one lesson she learned here that I’m a bit reluctant to write about because I’m conflicted about how I feel about the situation. Niña tends to get bullied a lot because she is has a very strong and unique personality; characteristics that adults seem to respect (independence, free thinking, intelligent, directness, honesty), other kids seem to hate. At this particular camp there was a boy who bullied her relentlessly.
She consistently asked him to stop and go away. However, half way through the week, he started to follow her around and say things like “you can’t do that because you’re a girl” and “you’re stupid because you’re blond.” He also started to push her around, which I’m pretty sure is behaviour he didn’t learn on his own.
This is when Niña decided to handle the situation in a different way. She lured him behind one of the buildings where the councillors couldn’t see and told him to leave her alone for the rest of the week. When he said he wouldn’t and called her stupid for suggesting such a thing, she promptly punched him (with 4-years of Taekwondo behind one punch) and followed with a kick that knocked him down.
After that, he stayed away and didn’t bother her again.
If we as adults think that bullying stops when we put “systems into place to prevent it,” we’re delusional. Kids will find a way to continue and from Niña’s own mouth: adults will try to control the bullying at school and camp but nothing ever works. It’s never ending and I would endeavor to say that this has been a consistent theme in every country or city we’ve been in regardless of language, religion, or culture.