Last week was Red Ribbon Week at schools nationwide, which is an annual, week-long anti-drug awareness campaign for kids of all-ages with age-appropriate themes, dialogues, and messages. It’s normally a time where schools and their PTAs/ PTOs brainstorm and students then implement a variety of fun and creative methods and activities that guide kids toward a lifelong practice of saying no to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. At least that’s what it was all about last year at T’s school so I expected a week filled with similar events at our new school.
Nope. Red Ribbon Week at our new school was something completely different. It seems that our new campus takes a vastly different approach, or at least they did this year. Much like how the school’s anti-bullying campaign has more of a pro-kindness angle to it, Red Ribbon Week here held activities centered around saying yes to healthier, kinder, and smarter choices instead of no to the contrary, with each grade engaging in age-appropriate lifestyle lessons and discussions throughout the week. The kids also had a couple of different red-dress days to keep the week fun and them engaged and involved.
To round out Red Ribbon Week, T’s school brought in a special assembly for all of the student body to enjoy Friday afternoon, which was a half-hour performance by Skatedogs Mobile Skatepark. The themes and messages that Skatedogs focused on were making positive, healthy, and active lifestyle choices. In between bursts of rallying the crowd to cheer on the skaters, the MC reminded the crowd that the performers all engage in healthy habits so they are able to do their best, habits like eating a balanced breakfast daily, stretching before and after a session, and staying away from junk foods and drinks and other substances like drugs that could stunt their level of performance.
While I’d been aware of Skatedogs’ existence for few years now (their mobile trailers can be spotted all over the area, one of which is always parked near our own neighborhood!), I had no idea just how long they’d been around. Founded in 1999 as a private instruction outfit, the company grew larger and moved into the week-long camp and after school markets in 2008. They are also available for birthday parties and demo events (like school assemblies!), and they even sell branded merchandise to promote skating to everyone of all ages and levels as a fun way to stay active and healthy.
I’m still on the fence as to whether I agree or not with T’s school’s approach to Red Ribbon Week. While I felt the week’s positive theme was an outstanding choice, I also felt like some of the anti-drug message was glossed over and sometimes ignored completely. However, because I only have one other school to compare to (which was a K-8 not just elementary, so maybe that meant we had a completely different program last year?) and since T is only still in Kindergarten (where much of the focus isn’t on direct and frank anti-drug discussions anyway), I’ll reserve my full opinion about Red Ribbon Week for another year or two yet. That and the performance by Skatedogs was pretty darn rad, too.
Thanks to our school and to Skatedogs for a fun-filled Red Ribbon Week that highlighted a wide variety of positive messages and mad skills! For more information on how to bring Skatedogs to your own school, organization, or event, please contact them directly.