(From Eric Jackson, TODAY Associate Producer)
This morning, we did a segment on kids who are bullied because of their weight. I produced the tape portion of that segment, and to do so, I traveled to New York's Camp Shane. As we said in the spot, it's a camp with a special mission -- to help kids lose weight, all while having the same type of fun that you can find at any other camp. If you missed the segment, here it is --WATCH VIDEO
Being a kid isn't always easy. You probably remember those awkward years. The ones where, when you look back at those old school pictures, you cringe. Yeah, those were the ones. Well, lucky for most of us, all our friends were going through that period together, so we really didn't seem or look different to the other kids around us. But how would you have felt if, on top of all the other things that there are to worry about at school, you looked different because you were overweight -- and people pointed that out to you? How would you have handled it?
It's an interesting question to think about. I know I had never really thought about it up until this weekend, when I spent a day shooting at Camp Shane. As you saw in the tape spot, I had the chance to speak with a group of six kids, and listen to their stories about what has happened to them at school because of their weight.
One of the comments that really left an impression on me was this: "I'll remember the person that teased me for the rest of my life. I'll never forget them." To hear those words coming from a kid's mouth shows you not only what some kids have to put up with on a daily basis, but really, how what we say can affect other people, even if we don't realize it at the time we say it.
As you've read from other posts on this blog, when producers do a tape spot, they shoot for hours -- sometimes, days -- and most of that material, you never see because of a little thing called editing. My full day of shooting at Camp Shane impressed me, though ... enough to write this blog about the maturity of the kids I spoke with. They are pretty remarkable.
Anyway, a big thank you to the people of Camp Shane, and most importantly, to the kids who took time out to speak with me and share their very personal stories. It's not the easiest thing to do in private, let alone on camera. I hope it teaches a lesson to everyone watching at home.