Local youth are taking a stand against bullying through a campaign designed to leave a sour taste in the mouth while spreading a strong message.
It's the second year that the Sour Words Hurt initiative has been run by Bundaberg Regional Council's Youth Development Action Team.
As part of the challenge participants are being asked to take a pledge against bullying on camera and share the clip to social media, but there's a sour twist.
Participants will need to take a bite into a lemon or lime after reading the pledge.
YDAT member Libby Boas said the group created the challenge as a fun way to spread awareness of bullying via social media and encouraged people to do better within themselves and their community.
“People should take the pledge for the Sour Words Hurt Challenge to hold themselves and their friends accountable for their actions and help get the message out there that we all need to accept our responsibility to create and be the change to stop bullying,” she said.
Libby said while the issues of bullying would always, and have always been around, the challenge focused on how people could better react to certain situations.
“I don’t know if bullying amongst our communities’ youth has changed much over time, but the modes of and attitudes towards it certainly have,” she said.
“I think it’s naïve to believe we can rid ourselves completely of bullying, but if we can manage to shift the attitude around it, to help victims and witnesses to speak out and step up, we could change a lot of lives.”
Libby said the Sour Words Hurt challenge was about more than just saying the pledge and biting something sour.
“It’s about not being a bully or a bystander, but someone who will stick up for others and is aware of how their actions affect those around them,” she said.
“It can be extremely difficult to do something when you believe you see someone being bullied, but it can make all the difference in the world.”
Libby said there were always ways to help someone who was being bullied.
“If you feel safe in doing so you should call out the bully for what they are doing and support the victim. Otherwise, you can talk to the victim afterward and check up on them,” she said.
“It’s always a good idea to talk to a trusted adult, such as a parent or teacher about what is going on.
The Sour Words Hurt pledge reads:
From this day forward I pledge to
– Stand strong and encourage action
– Think before I send
– Tell someone and speak out
– Support those who can’t support themselves
– Show that there is always hope
Council's Community Services portfolio spokesperson Cr Tracey McPhee commended the YDAT for their ongoing work to take a stand against bullying and unacceptable behaviour in schools and the community.
“This fantastic group of people, made up by our local youth community, are really focused on pushing out the message that bullying is just not okay,” she said.
“It's important that young people feel like they can have a say when it comes to bullying and feel confident to step in and make it known that the behaviour is truly unacceptable.”
Find out more about how you can take the Sour Words Hurt pledge here.
Youth take on regional issues
The Youth Development Action Team was brought together to work in partnership with Council to assist in identifying issues the young people of the region are experiencing.
YDAT bring youth issues to the attention of Council representatives, learn project management skills through the youth led activities they undertake, and also implement processes of meeting governance, chair secretary and acknowledgment of country.
Find out more here.