AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Auburn-Lewiston YMCA is taking a new approach to bullying this year by involving staff and students in the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.
The curriculum hopes to establish a set of skills and communication that will send a consistent message about the dangers of bullying.
Last spring, a young person at the Auburn YMCA reported an incident that raised some eyebrows in the association.
A girl on the swim team had been bullied and decided to quit.
"Enough for a kid to leave a team and her network of friends. That doesn't normally happen in just a regular conflict," says Executive Director, Brian DuBois.
Simultaneously, a local expert at the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and some grant money became available to ALYMCA.
Their staff is educating hundreds of students, with full support from Auburn schools.
"It's reaffirming what they are learning in the schools, they are using the same terminology, the have the same program. So kids are becoming more educated about identifying bullying rather than just labeling everything bullying," says DuBois.
The association says they are seeing positive results.
School Age Director Pam Prevost says, "I have seen children stand up for other children or invite new children to play games with them."
Kids are forthcoming with their own ideas to play fair with toys, suggesting a sign up sheet for the pool table.
The ALYMCA is hosting a family night September 7, focusing on bullying prevention.Mascots from the Sea Dogs and Red Claws will be there with games and giveaways for kids and parents.