19 Responses to Let Counselors Hug Campers!

  1. Larry Harrison July 14, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

    I’m a 41½ year old man. A parent of a 1 & 3 year old, I also have a 5½ year old niece who really likes me, and hugs me a lot, and sometimes even wants to hold my hand while we walk.

    Never thought anything of it, and still don’t. I won’t let such nonsense as this poison a beautiful thing.

    Thank goodness I have a job (one that involves no children, by the way), because clearly I’d be labeled one of the “3 P’s”–pedophile, pervert, or pornographer–if I were to be a camp counselor.

    Years ago when “Forrest Gump” was popular as a movie, a TV news article asked if this country was becoming a country that celebrated lack of education etc since a popular movie was about a man who was, in essence, a dummy.

    Turns out, it wasn’t the movies we were needing to worry about. It was real people who, to be quite honest, ARE dummies, if I can say that without it turning into a lack of civil discourse.

    I was about to finish, but I just had a thought–maybe, when my children are older, I need to draft a letter specifically outlining how I give my consent for such a person to hug my son or daughter and to not worry about any implications. Like I said, I’m not going to let THEIR thinking poison family relationships in which no sickness of any sort exists.

    As Lenore said–ugh.

  2. Linda Wightman July 14, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    My favorite kindergarten teacher once told me that she continues to hug her students despite the known personal risk, “because for some of my students my hugs are the only ones they’ll get all day.”

  3. Peter Orvetti July 14, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    I volunteer as a religious education teacher at our UU church, working with two- and three-year-olds. That alone, for a guy in his mid-30s, would set off alarms with many folks. But I hug the kids all the time. It’s a shame that hugging has become so sexualized.

  4. JeninCanada July 15, 2010 at 12:43 am #

    When I was at teacher’s college and placement last fall it was stressed repeatedly that we’re not allowed to hug the kids unless they initiate it, and then make sure that it wasn’t overly long (whatever that means). As Linda said above, some of these kids NEED the attention and affection of their teachers much more than others, and a hug now and then can go a long way towards building trust between teachers and students. It’s a shame that our world has become so hands-off.

  5. Uly July 15, 2010 at 2:04 am #

    Unless I’m mistaken, the rule isn’t “no hugs”. The rule is “Go on their level for hugs”.

    I always do that anyway, and for just that reason – I don’t want to have little noses crammed into my crotch. I just don’t like it. Having a rule about this is silly, but let’s not make it out like it’s bigger and further-reaching than it is.

  6. osujedimom July 15, 2010 at 3:37 am #

    I feel that it is such a sad commentary on today’s society that a harmless hug can cause issues. Seriously? Children (of all ages) can benefit from the power of touch. A hug is a basic expression of caring, affection, greeting, condolences, the list goes on and on. As adults, we use a hug to convey so many things. Where is this learned? In childhood, along with a myriad of ways to express ourselves. Let’s not take this away!

  7. Stephanie July 15, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    It’s sad that we worry so much about a simple hug. Kids don’t notice where they’re hugging anyone, and certainly aren’t disturbed by hugging an adult who is standing up.

    If it’s your preference to kneel at the kids’ level, fine. Demanding that everyone do it, not fine.

  8. Melanie July 15, 2010 at 9:03 am #

    When will society as a whole stop modifying, changing and politicizing every single normal human action? The rules are becoming so numerous and far reaching that it’s difficult to know how to act when outside your own home!
    Are we breeding a society of unemotional, anti-human, mini robots with all this nonsensical, fear minded thinking?

  9. DJ July 15, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    I had to take Child Protection Training to work at a Catholic Church preschool. One of the things they taught us was the quick move to the “side hug” to avoid getting the face in the groin from a fast moving child. Still just a bit weird to worry about.

  10. Teacher Tom July 15, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    Every day when I finish class, the children surge to the front of the room to hug me. I’ve never asked for it. It just happens. And I hug them back. They want to show their appreciation and I will never reject that compliment. They have now started following that up by hugging each other.

    Anyone who thinks that’s wrong is the sicko.

  11. BeQui July 15, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    My dad volunteers to watch the little kids at church when the mothers have a meeting. He was telling me about one little girl in particular with a learning disability who wouldn’t stop crying until he held her in his lap and started telling jokes and snuggling her. Ever since then, every time she sees him she tells her mom he’s her special friend and gives him a hug. And the mom is just glad to have someone who treats her daughter “normal.”
    I taught an autistic kid in our church, who would only sit quietly if he was in my lap and I was whispering in his ear.
    The teenage girls at church LOVE hugging people, but recently our bishop told them they needed to quit hugging the adult males, unless it was a side hug. Apparently some of the men complained because they felt uncomfortable with teen breasts pressed to their chests. If that’s how they feel, then they shouldn’t have to hug the girls. But it’s too bad it had to turn into a rule because 1 or 2 people had a problem. (And it was NO FUN explaining to a room of teens girls that that kind of contact can be taken sexually.)

  12. baby-paramedic July 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    When I was 9 my uncle suddenly died.
    My cousins were 8 and 10.
    After a few days my 8 year old cousin decided she was ready to return to school.
    My aunt asked the teacher that if my cousin started being upset her teacher was allowed to hug her.
    He refused, stating he would lose his job if he did.
    This teacher was the only real male role model left in my cousin’s life, and he couldn’t give her a hug as he was too afraid of losing his job.

    The story really struck me…

  13. baby-paramedic July 15, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    Another story.
    My friend is just about to graduate as a teacher. He is male. He got in trouble when a student came up and hugged HIM. As in, student-initiated hugging. That lasted all over about 1-2seconds as the student said “thanks”.

  14. Julie July 15, 2010 at 8:05 pm #

    Gosh, when I think of all the hugs I’ve given and received working as a camp counselor with orphans in Romania when I spent three summers and then a whole year over there working with orphans and youth groups!! People with their minds in the gutter would certainly have had a heyday with me….but those orphans THRIVED at camp with plenty of hugs from their counselors and cried when it was time for them to head back to their drab state-run orphanages!!

  15. Heather July 17, 2010 at 1:09 am #

    I was a camp counselor 15 years ago in college. Hugs were a part of the routine. We had seven year olds, away from home, some for the first time ever, for 3-6 nights.

    Tears were a regular occurance espically at night, and well needed. If I was a parent I would not my child at a camp that did not let the councelor hug the kids…

  16. dahlia July 17, 2010 at 3:45 am #

    what’s a “side hug”?

    i’m going to really miss the little preschool my daughter goes to. they hug all the time, pecks on the head, etc. i suspect that will all be over when she goes to public school this fall. maybe not, maybe i’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    this reminds me — a single dad who used to come to the preschool was very protective of his daughter, i mean overly-so, he was probably just feeling insecure. he called me one time to ask me about the one teacher … he was concerned because i guess his little daughter said to the teacher “i love you!” and the teacher kind of burst into tears at the sweetness (she was kind of a dramatic person, heh) and said she loved her too, hug and kiss, etc.

    anyway, rather than feel warm inside that his little girl was being taken care of by people who genuinely cared about her, and who she obviously cared about herself, he was worried that maybe this teacher was “too attached” to his kid. and was going to what, abscond with her to mexico? i didn’t cross paths with him again after that, he left the preschool. i thought that was kind of sad.

  17. Icalasari July 18, 2010 at 4:55 am #

    @dahlia – A side hug is when you hug someone from the side instead of the front or back

    This rule doesn’t seem bad (so far, it seems implied that this is just the case if the counsellor initiates the hug). Besides, I think the kid would rather get a full hug anyways :3

    But yeah, preventing hugs is something else. Hugs make people happy

  18. Aly July 24, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    My 12 year old daughter went to a week-long ecology camp this summer run by our state’s Audubon group. On the last day, parents were invited for a brief ceremony to end the camp. The kids’ names were called and they were given a packet of information and a bird book. In front of all the parents, each kid went down the line where all the counselors and instructors were lined up. A few of the older boys shook hands with everyone, and a few of the girls seemed to prefer side-hugs, but for the most part each kid got a big, full, friendly, we’ll-miss-each-other hug from each grownup. Some of the smaller girls actually got passed from one adult to the next, one hug after the other, and their feet didn’t touch the ground all the way to the end.

    I was so happy to watch each kid, grinning hugely, get so many affectionate good-byes. Apparently the creepy hug-o-phobes haven’t made it to our woods yet. 🙂

  19. Matt February 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    I’m a good man that has a Huge Heart For kids who has been persecuted many times for it!! Just being a guy apparently automatically makes you some kind of deviant!! I remember One particular summer I worked for a local summer day camp program in my home town through their park district. One day a 6 year old boy had fallen down hard on the ground and was crying profusely with his arms reaching out desperately for a hug and some comfort. I walk up to see the rest of the staff just standing around him not lifting a finger to help him for fear of being accused of something!!! Needless to say I was very sickened by what I saw and helped the boy up and gave him a hug and helped comfort him. For this I was latter written up and had my job threatened!!!! Needless to say I quit that day and gave them a piece of my mind!! It’s beyond sick to me that Anyone would see the innocent hug of a little hurting child as something sexual!! It sickens me beyond all measure!! And they acted like I was the one who had the problem!! HOW Truly SICK In the Head PEOPLE ARE!! Now the happy ending to this little story is that recently nearly 4 years latter I just happened to run into that same kid who out of nowhere came up to me to thank me for meaning so much to him that summer!! I could not believe he remembered me after so long and it really made me feel good!! It just sickens me how society is SO Cold and Inhuman to children these days!!