Bronco football looks to tackle bullying problem

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The Boise State football organization recently started an anti-bullying campaign called “Broncos vs. Bullying.” The campaign was put together to teach children about bullying, respect and kindness.

Player development coordinator Winston Venable helped bring the campaign to life, selecting a group of about 20 people, made up of staff and athletes, to go to elementary schools and give their anti-bullying message to the children.  

“We have such good dudes on this team so it’s hard to not select certain guys,” Venable said. “I have selected some of our leaders and guys that are really good at talking to kids, good speakers that want to be a part of this, guys that think they might be teachers, guys that really know the impact they have towards kids.”

Venable said he has had other athletes ask to be a part of this, and he will never turn anyone down who wants to make a difference.

Bronco football head coach Bryan Harsin has children of his own who have witnessed bullying at their schools, making him more aware of how big of a problem it is. Because of this, Harsin has been pushing for a program or campaign that deals with bullying.

“It’s necessary, (the campaign),” Harsin said. “I know people, and we know people in this community who have kinda been through these things, and (bullying is) something that there is no place for.”

The Bronco football organization does a lot for the community, such as the charity softball game that benefits the First Tee of Idaho; they have a firm understanding of the impact they can make. The “Broncos vs. Bullying” campaign was a step up from the community service they already do. The organization wanted to make more of a lasting impact on the youth.

“The idea was, we play a sport where in this community, it is a big deal,” Harsin said. “We have a lot of players in here, they are big guys, tough guys, who go out and play a physical game. Who they are as people, are a lot of protectors. They want to make a difference. When you have a platform like we do, you can make a difference.”

The Broncos decided to kick off the campaign in October for National Bullying Prevention Month. But, the Broncos have no intentions of stopping; they have schools lined up to visit all through November, and have plans of continuing at least to the end of the 2018 season.

Harsin and Venable spoke about how passionate the guys on the team are about being a part of this campaign. The athletes feel like they are doing something that can really impact the community.

“Our guys do a really good job,” Venable said. “We have really good players that understand how to communicate and talk to kids, and give them messages that they can understand. It really has been a good deal for the Broncos, the schools and kids we are talking to. I think everyone has gotten something out of it, and it’s been productive.”

The campaign has received tremendous amounts of positive feedback from staff members at the schools. The Broncos have been told the messages they are delivering to the students are “very useful.”

“I think we are just getting started; we are just scratching the surface. There are a lot of ideas we have to get better, this gives us a purpose; to me that was the goal behind it,” Harsin said. “This can help a real problem in the community. We are here to help and be a part of whatever we need, to make this better because this is our community and its important.”

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