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Respect Week Begins With An Afternoon Of Fun

A youngster gets a bicycle helmet fitted to his head at one of the many activities available at Respect Week's kickoff party.
A youngster gets a bicycle helmet fitted to his head at one of the many activities available at Respect Week's kickoff party.

Be respectful, be responsible, be safe — and have fun.

The Community Task Force of Fulton married its message of respect to a day of fun Sunday afternoon as it kicked off Respect Week with food, fun and a positive message under the pavilion at Bullhead Point.

Being respectful, responsible and safe are goals “that we hope all will live by,” said Geri Geitner, who heads the task force, as she opened the event.

Community groups set up tables where young people could make crafts, get a bicycle helmet fit snugly to their heads, or jump around in an inflatable bouncing house.  Shannon’s Hot Dog truck was on hand, offering free hot dogs to go with a bottle of water and snack.

The weather cooperated, providing a picture-perfect kickoff of the week of activities designed to reinforce the positive behavioral messages at use in Fulton schools, in a program called PBIS, for “positive behavioral interventions and supports”.

“When we’re in church, the word for respect is ‘reverence’,” noted Rev. David Nethercott, who quoted the well-known Christian hymn with the lyric “‘Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me’.  Let’s think about respect in that way today. Let there be respect and let it begin with me.”

The task force formed several years ago after several incidents, most notably the bomb threats that occured on a regular basis at the high school.  Schools have been ramping up their “respect” initiatives in recent years, and Betty Fadden, executive director at the Fulton Family YMCA, told the crowd that her agency has been doing the same thing.

“In the 90’s, the leaders of the Y became concerned that kids just didn’t seem to know the difference between right and wrong anymore, that morality seemed to be slipping in our community,” she said.

The agency adopted caring, honesty and responsibility as its core values, she said.  “A person of good character strives to do the right thing,” she concluded. “We all must lead by example.”

The task force meets monthly and invites anyone to join.  Call Geri Geitner at 593-5547 for details.