U of C swim club dives into anti-bullying program
1,200 participants to go through mandatory course, including coaches and parents
Some Calgary swimmers are taking a stand against bullying. The University of Calgary Swim Club is the first sports organization formally involved with the anti-bullying campaign called 'Dare to Care'.
The pool is a popular place to be after school. The club coaches kids from age six through to university students.
The new anti-bullying program will see about 1,200 people take the mandatory training, including swimmers, coaches and parents.
Lisa Dixon-Wells created the Dare to Care program for schools, but this is the first time it has been used in a sports program.
"In Canada seven out of 10 youth are dropping out of organized sports by age 13," Dixon-Wells said.
She says a big reason for all the drop outs is the pressure associated with competitive sports.
"You've got to win, you've got to be the best."
Dixon-Wells says that pressure can be minimized if the players involved know what to look for.
Truly a fine line
"We want to create a drive, an inner competitive spirit in athletes. But there's truly a fine line between competitive spirit and taking it a step too far. Unfortunately in a sporting culture, bullying can be sort of masqueraded as ... being a form of team work or drive for success," Dixon-Wells said.
She says peer-to-peer bullying is a concern, but so is abuse involving parents and officials.
Head coach Mike Blondal went through the training on the weekend. He says bullying rarely happens out in the open where it can be seen.
"We just need to find a way to get around it, and to solve it so that everyone can participate," Blondal said.
With files from Sarah Lawrynuik