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Shocco plans to take new character education activity into public schoolscomment (0)

August 9, 2012

By Brittney Knox

Shocco plans to take new character education activity into public schools

Students at Munford High School and Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD) likely had no idea how much impact a simple hula hoop would have on them as they participated in the recent launch of The Muneris Experience. 

“The activity, called the Helium Hoop, requires students to place the tip of one finger on the hoop while standing around the hula hoop, and collaboratively they have to place the hoop on the ground,” said Elizabeth Cook, assistant recreation coordinator for Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in Talladega and a facilitator for Muneris. 

The students have to work through the activity by thinking through the exercise and by communicating with others, she said, noting it is more difficult than it first appears.

Helium Hoop is one of nearly 20 different character- and team-building exercises offered in the new character education program sponsored by Shocco.

Shocco officials used the Alabama Character Builders curriculum of Alabama Citizen’s Action Program (ALCAP) as a foundational piece to develop Muneris, which is the Latin word for service. 

The name was selected in an attempt to appeal to high school students. 

A “cool” name for the program could make all the difference in how it is received, Shocco officials noted.

“This is an activity we have developed that we plan to take into more public schools in the fall that teaches character-based traits as well as teaches about bullying,” said Buster Taylor, executive director of Shocco. 

While the plan is to develop students in the areas of character, team building and communication, Taylor also hopes this “portable version” of what takes place at Shocco also will provide a glimpse of the things available at Shocco. 

Cook added that the curriculum is not able to directly minister to students because it will be used in public school settings, but she hopes the students are able to see Christ in those who are facilitating the sessions. 

The sessions are open to schools statewide and can handle 20 to 200 people at a time catering to grades 5 through 12. The activities can be done inside but are better in open spaces outdoors. 

There are a variety of character-building exercises to choose from that average about 10 minutes each, and Shocco representatives can facilitate Muneris activities for up to two and a half hours.

Along with general character building among teens, Shocco officials hope the new program will help tame the various forms of bullying that goes on among students and keep victims of bullying from hurting themselves.

One student from ASD wrote in a post evaluation, “I realize I am the bully.”

“Hearing that was amazing,” Cook said. “It was great to hear that Muneris was working and to see the benefits of how it impacted the students.” 

She said group leaders talk through different elements related to bullying, such as why people do it and what it means to be the “silent person” in the situation.

“We … discuss the things that can happen to the person being bullied if the silent person does not speak up,” she said. 

Tamera Hardaway, adjustment specialist for ASD, gives the program a thumbs up.

“We have some issues with bullying in our school so we wanted them to [deal with] that in their activities as well,” she said, noting she heard about the opportunity while attending an unrelated meeting at Shocco. 

“Our time with Muneris went very well and the kids were very excited to participate in the activities.”

For more information or to schedule a session, call Cook at 1-800-280-1105.

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