OWL2The Pacific Northwest District is proud to offer a training for leaders of the sexuality education curriculum, Our Whole Lives (OWL) for 7-9/10-12 grade in Spokane, Washington July 12-14, 2013. Congregations should have two leaders for each class offered. Ideally they would be facilitated by a male/female co-facilitation team.

Sign up now so your leaders are trained for the 2013-2014 church year. Go to http://www.pnwd.org/content.aspx?ID=55  to register now.

Our Whole Lives is based on a philosophy of comprehensive sexuality education which helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. Grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, comprehensive sexuality education provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but also helps leaders to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, social, and political aspects of sexuality as well.

The leaders or facilitators who implement the curriculum are important determinants of program success. Thus, it is very important for group leaders to be highly skilled in communication and facilitation, in managing the learning process so that activities are truly aimed at accomplishing objectives, and in using a variety of teaching techniques, such as role play. They must have the ability to create an atmosphere that engages young adolescents and to use language and communication styles that are relevant to the specific youth in the program. Finally, group leaders must have the patience, stamina, and creativity necessary to manage the vast differences in maturity, experience, ability to dialogue, and attention spans present in a group of young adolescents.

Of course, teaching about sexuality is not easy. Many of us did not have good experiences with sexuality education when we were young, and talking about sexuality with young people may be fun and rewarding but also difficult and challenging. The most important thing is that you will be willing, open and honest with other participants and with yourself.

The training is an opportunity not only to learn about the program and how to lead it, but also to see how comfortable you are as an Our Whole Lives leader. It offers the opportunity to see many of the activities modeled by trainers as they were intended to be conducted. It gives the facilitators a supportive environment in which to practice skills and get constructive feedback from trainers and other curriculum implementers. It allows facilitators to network with others in the same position and to share ideas about what will and won’t work with their groups. Finally, it provides an opportunity for facilitators to get in touch with their own feelings, opinions, and experiences regarding sexuality.

Dana Regan, CRE

PNWD Lead RE Consultant