January 11th, eleven Unitarians from Vancouver Island, Washington, Alberta, and Saskatchewan joined four members from Vancouver Unitarians and a member of the Surrey Sikh community to learn the ins and outs of teaching sexuality education to teenage youth. Led by Reverends Samaya Oakley and Christopher Wulff it was an engaging weekend full of insights, questions, challenges, curiosity, laughter, and inspiration.
Nine out-of-town participants were hosted by Vancouver Unitarian members; dinners were provided, potluck style, by members along with the Saturday Messy Church multigen-family event. The Our Whole Lives (O.W.L.) trainees remarked that they were so well taken care of, the weekend felt like a vacation—which means a lot when you are spending 20 hours in class!
Our Whole Lives?
Our Whole Lives sexuality education was written in the late 1990’s jointly between the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. It is considered by some to be one of the best things we offer as a faith; an invaluable opportunity across the lifespan to reclaim what is sometimes cheapened, diminished, or abused as an integral and life-giving facet of our whole self. Workshop series have been written for children beginning at age 5, tweens, teens, young adults, adults, and older adults.
Oprah had this to say about the Adult workshop offerings back in 2009:
“With memories of mortifying class discussions led by the gym teacher, what grown-up
in her right mind would sign on for another round of sex ed? Turns out, lots of them!
Only this time, the lessons are intimate, the questions are provocative, and the
homework is electrifying.” Oprah about OWL program, July 2009.
I am so pleased that we were able to offer this training opportunity to continue the good work of complete and comprehensive sexuality education across Canada. The success of this event is a testimony to the warmth and hospitality of our members—thank you to everyone who contributed, large and small!
Current OWL Offerings
We are wrapping up registration this week for this Spring’s offering of the junior high O.W.L. workshop series, check out the details here on our website.
South Fraser Unitarians are offering the Adult O.W.L. aimed at ages 30-55 as a 3-workshop series one Saturday a month, beginning February 9th—check out their registration details here.