Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    God's Gift of Sexuality

    Last weekend, coincidentally, we had our seventh grade sexuality retreat. The retreat started at 5:00 Saturday evening and concluded with a brief worship Sunday morning. After eating pizza and doing a few silly skits, we rotated the youth through three individual sessions: 1) God’s gift of sexuality; 2) Images of sexuality; and 3) Good touch, bad touch, and confusing touch.

    Overall, I thought the retreat went very well. At the worship on Sunday morning parents were invited to attend. I shared with the parents that at the retreat, at least in the beginning, there is always some awkwardness when discussing sexuality. But, I can think of no safer place to have a conversation about sexuality than at the church. As a youth minister, I hope my youth feel comfortable discussing with me, and other adult volunteers, issues involving sexuality. I think avoiding the topic of sexuality would be a serious mistake.

    This summer, our camp program is offering, for the first time, an Eighter’s camp that is focused on sexuality. The description for this camp says: Eighter’s is a unique camp just for youth entering 9th grade in the fall which provides youth with factual and spiritual understanding of God’s gift of sexuality. Morning keynotes focus on the humanity of Jesus, God’s love, forgiveness, and plans for camper’s lives. Workshops on anatomy, puberty, abstinence, dating, STIs/AIDS, conception, and contraception are presented in the evening. Small group sessions daily provide a place for related activities and fellowship. Worship wraps up each day. Campers also enjoy swimming, crafts, games, music, team challenges, and campfire.

    Has anyone done anything similar?

    1 comments:

    PH2 said...

    Thank God you are doing this type of work. I think attitudes are changing, fortunately, but when I was a youth 20 years ago no way would there have been a church sponsored sexuality retreat or sex talk at church camp. A few years back my wife and I were leaders at a sexuality retreat for the youth at her last church (she's a pastor) and it went quite well, I think. Nothing was off the table and we guaranteed confidentiality (i.e., parents were not going to be told what was said during the discussions). Based on my experience working with youth, the older kids are dying to talk about sex in a mature way but with someone other than their parents. The church can play a really valuable role here.