“I want to thank the Carleton Ravens football program by helping spread the message that bullying will not be tolerated in our community,” said Michael Johnson, president of the Orléans Bengals Football Club. “The Orléans Bengals know that it’s not just about scores and results – it’s about confidence, responsibility and a safe environment for every child.”
Since 2008, Bengal players, coaches, parents and managers have been united in their fight against bullying both on and off the field. Councillor Stephen Blais partnered with the Orléans Bengals Football Club and their sponsor Taggart Realty to help sustain the program over a number of years. The program won the prestigious Royal Ottawa Inspiration Award in the Community Category in 2012.
The Stephen Blais “Be a Bengal not a Bully” program combines football fundamentals, conditioning training and team building exercises designed to keep youth active, safe and engaged with football throughout the winter months. The program goals include developing and implementing a training plan aimed at enhancing known protective factors (i.e. strong, positive social networks), reduce risk factors (i.e. social isolation, having friends who bully, financial barriers) and influence determinates of bullying, victim and bystander behaviours.
“The Carleton Ravens Football Club is pleased to help the Orléans Bengals address the issue of bullying in today’s youth,” said Joshua Sacobie, Ravens assistant football coach. “Bullying is a serious issue that has far reaching consequences for youth and a community at large, which is why we’re happy to help combat the issue across Ottawa.”
The Ravens football anti-bullying program uses WITS: walk away, ignore, talk to others and seek help. The Raven players will also be promoting physical activity and nutrition among youth, using football as the driving force. The outcome is to develop physical literacy by engaging youth that is simple, active and most importantly safe.
“I am truly in awe that our anti-bullying program continues to grow for the betterment of youth in our community,” said Tammy Copp, Director of the Stephen Blais Be a Bengal not a Bully program.“Our last session involving Raven football players will be a special occasion for our youth to learn from football players they look up to.”