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Planning a trip this summer? Check the safety record of a bus company before you book a ticket or board the bus.

Understanding the Impact of Labels on Teens

By Katie Gorscak, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Earlier this week, StopBullying.gov launched two new videos and an animated GIF that address the issue of labels and how words can do harm. This project is a result of regular engagement and collaboration with one of the main audiences for StopBullying.gov: teens.

Communication professionals pride themselves on coming up with big ideas and big messages. I am one of those people, but I also recognize when I may need a little help connecting with my audience. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a teen’s shoes, much less the fashionable variety worn by the youth of today.

My work with StopBullying.gov has afforded me a great opportunity to regularly work with teens and to gain a better understanding of what they go through on a day-to-day basis. In the past year, I have had the pleasure to work with teens from 4-H, listen to presentations by youth during bullying prevention workshops, and scour the internet in search for which types of messages resonate with teens.

One theme that has come up, time and time again, is that words can do harm and that labels don’t equal the person. We have previously explored this idea on the StopBullying.gov blog, affirming our position to not label children. But there’s more to this idea than just the research.

Every time that I have spoken with youth about bullying, the idea of labels has come up. Teens have expressed that they don’t want to be defined by the color of their skin, their interests, or by perceived stereotypes. This notion of labels being harmful, and how teens regular fight against stereotyping, is something that affect teens from all walks of life.

By regularly working with teens directly, I believe we can better address the issues that affect them every day. And if we can reach one teen and inspire them to rise above bullying, then we are well on our way to inspiring a new generation of teens.

If you need ideas to help talk to your teen about bullying or need help recognizing the signs of bullying visit Stopbullying.gov or the StopBullying.gov Tumblr page.

Do you have questions about child support and how to access it? Find information and your local office to get help.

Great Natural Areas to Explore With Family

A good way to connect with your family is to leave behind the work and school routines. If your family has days off or a free weekend, consider planning a road trip to explore new places.

All throughout the United States there are recreation areas that offer a wide variety of activities for everyone. Below you will find some ideal places for enjoying what nature has to offer:

Boulder Creek, California

Location: This spot is in the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains, northeast of San Francisco.

Features: It has everything nature lovers would want, such as beautiful lakes, streams and mountains, as well as prairies surrounded by plants and animals.

Activities: It is a place where you can swim, fish, ride a boat or kayak, mountain bike and camp.

Alley Creek Camp, Texas

Location: On the edge of Lake O ‘the Pines, east of Dallas and near the towns of Jefferson and Marshall.

Features: There’s a magnificent lake surrounded by pine trees and the region’s native flora and fauna. The lake is a result of the construction of a dam, but now it’s considered an oasis of outdoor recreation.

Activities: Families can enjoy camping, swimming, hunting, fishing, boat rides, or hiking along trails and exploring nature.

Buck Lake, Florida

Location: This recreational area is located in Ocala National Forest.

Features: The Buck Lake area has the second longest forest in the state of Florida, and more than 600 lakes, rivers and springs that are popular tourist attractions.

Activities: This site offers a variety of ways to enjoy the open air, including fishing, boat rides, camping, picnics, hiking and more.

Camp Gateway, New York

Location: Situated at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, this park is a great natural space within the urban environment of New York City.

Features: The area’s meadows, trees, sand dunes, lagoons and beaches attract many tourists year-round.

Activities: You can choose among hiking, fishing, biking or camping. There are also guided tours and other programs available.

Apache Trout Campground, Arizona

Location: This spot is east of Phoenix, near the New Mexico border.

Features: Wide open spaces, pine forests, mountain scenery and Big Lake are all ideal for relaxation.

Activities: This is a good spot for outdoor activities like trout fishing, hiking, mountain biking, picnics and camping.

Note: The activities at these recreation parks vary depending on the time of year and season.

Use the search guide in Recreation.gov to find other activities and recreational areas.

Read this note in Spanish.