Cyber Cadets Summer Workshop
Catholic Social Services OST Programs
In keeping with the Project:Connect initiatives, the Cyber Cadets Summer Workshop will offer a hands-on learning experience that will develop a population of middle school kids who are versed in positive online etiquette. In addition, through the use of mentor relationships with tech-savvy summer camp group leaders and site Assistant Directors, participants will be informed about the dangers of cyber bullying and given a forum for developing strategies to combat it through an Internet campaign against cyber bullying in their communities. For years, middle school students from the afterschool programs at St. Martin de Porres OST in North Philadelphia and DePaul OST in Germantown have feuded due to slight differences in socio-economic status. In an effort to bring these youth together in hopes of mending this relationship, the Cyber Cadets Summer Workshop is an anti-bullying, community-building campaign developed and led by the participating youth in the program. Over the course of eight summer weeks, sixty children from 11 to 14 years of age in both of these afterschool programs will work online collaboratively to fight against cyber bullying in their communities. In addition, participants from both schools will join together for social face-to-face events that include team-building activities where youth are able to put anti-bullying efforts into real world practice.
As the St. Martin de Porres OST and DePaul OST programs are a part of Catholic Social Services (CSS) Out of School Time (OST) Programs network, there is opportunity for the participants at these two programs to spread their anti-cyber bullying message to a wider range of children throughout the CSS OST Programs. Following the initial Cyber Cadets Summer Workshop, children who participate in this workshop will bring the message to other CSS OST afterschool programs through Skype presentations, school assemblies, and online message boards.
The intention of the Cyber Cadets Summer Workshop is to build a core group of middle school kids who will be devoted to spreading an anti-cyber bullying message to their peers and younger kids in an effort to cause change within their communities. This process begins with first educating students in internet safety and then helping them develop strategies for combating cyber dangers, specifically in the area of cyber bullying which is a very realistic threat for many middle school students. Over the course of eight weeks, the Cyber Cadets Summer Workshop will guide middle school kids from two feuding afterschool programs through the phases of identifying the dangers of cyber-bullying, developing an anti-cyber bullying campaign, and becoming empowered to lead their schools and other afterschool programs in this anti-bullying effort; thus unifying kids who historically have been at odds with each other in a collaborative, community project. In addition, participants will be schooled in strategies for monitoring and regulating collaborative social media sites, wikis, and websites through frequent spot-checks and updates in order to ensure that these communication tools are being used to create positive outcomes.
In the formative weeks of this campaign, kids will vote on kid-created logos and slogans that will be the crux of their anti-cyber bullying campaign. This logo and slogan will be present on club t-shirts that the kids will receive as well as all campaign materials that will be created by the kids. Communications between the sites will occur through Skype, www.linoit.com and KidBlog.org while kids from both afterschool sites will collaborate online in real-time using freeware such as Google Docs, www.vistaprint.com, www.wix.com, www.facebook.com, www.prezi.com, www.goanimate.com, & www.powtoon.com to create campaign materials. In addition to the design of print materials, a website, and a social media page, kids will also develop an anti-cyber bullying Public Service Announcement video to post on the website.
Along with online collaboration, kids will be challenged to put anti-bullying efforts into real world practice at events where they will interact face-to-face. These events include a “Meet and Greet” Barbecue, a trip to iPlay America, a Scavenger Hunt, and a Dance. In an effort to spread the anti-cyber bullying campaign message, kids will wear their club t-shirts to these various events. The Assistant Directors and group leaders at each afterschool site will monitor all of these online collaborations and events. Also, parents will be made aware of the program and they must sign permission slips in order for their children to use these collaborative media tools.
As the culminating event for the Cyber Cadets Summer Workshop, all kid-participants will plan and facilitate mini-assemblies to be delivered to the younger students at their afterschool sites; thus offering these middle school kids an opportunity to be leaders in their communities. In addition, in order to keep the anti-bullying message fresh and help it spread, kid-participants will also plan and facilitate assemblies in September to be delivered at their respective schools and afterschool programs.