Friday, October 9, 2009

Teenagers and Sex

Last night I facilitated a workshop for a program called Young Women's Voices, which is propelled by Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services, a non-profit organization that serves Yukon children, youth, adults, and families by promoting healthy relationships within the family, in the workplace and the community.

The young women in the program are aged 15-22 and they're gathering at regular intervals to dance, do arts and crafts, support one another and create a live show, which is where I come in. I was there last night to talk to them about the structure of a play and how to move beyond the fear in order to perform with grace and humility.

By way of introduction, we went around the circle and each gal talked about her history of being on stage, what she was passionate about and her vision for the future. I enjoyed hearing each young woman speak about her hopes and dreams and was struck by the staggering fact that I am now more than twice the age of most of them.

I also asked each young woman to say what she hoped to get out of doing a live show for the public. One of them said, "To get the message across."

When I asked them what their message was going to be they all said, "Safe sex."

Though safe sex was a part of my world when I was young I certainly didn't go out of my way to promote it or even practice it. To witness these gals actively involved in a public awareness campaign for their peers was, to say the least, awe-inspiring.

Times have changed and they haven't. For example, I learned last night that some of our schools still do not even have Sex Ed classes. As one gal said, "They're teaching us about land animals in Asia but not about our own bodies."

These young women have stories about girls they know who get too drunk to care about using a condom or don't even care in the first place, alcohol or no. How do we teach young people to care enough about themselves to protect their very lives?

It's a big question and these gals are on the case.

Inspiring Message of the Day: There are teenagers out there who are passionate about doing the right thing. They are actively engaged in the process of educating their friends about safe sex because they truly care about protecting their bodies and themselves.

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