Sunday Snippet: Just Say Yes to Relationship Education!
Providing sex education in the schools has been a divisive topic politically for quite some time. Here in Wisconsin, it is back in the spotlight as the Republicans are now trying to reverse what the Democrats mandated just a few short years ago. Not sure either political party has the tools, knowledge or the compassion for students to effectively address this issue, but that is a topic for another blog! We thought we would talk a bit about the value of relationship education as a highly relevant approach to helping our children and young adults deal with the adult complexities they are increasingly having to deal with at younger and younger ages.
In our culture of ‘friends with benefits’ and ‘hooking up’, many children and young adults are bombarded with images and ideas that sexual activity is just that, an activity that one can participate in just like a sport, game or other event. The only feelings generally associated with it is immediate gratification and satisfaction. Sadly, what is seldom portrayed are the internal feelings that each participant will be faced with after the event, after the activity… after the sex is over. A single event of physical intimacy frequently results in complicated, conflicting and even disturbing internal feelings within the participants that can linger for months and years to follow.
In an article posted on the Camp Business Magazine website (Camp and Commitment), Dr. Chris Thurber explores the challenges of physical intimacy in adolescents and young adults. He suggests that despite the popular acceptance of casual sex, what most are truly seeking through this activity is a deeper emotional intimacy. He shares that most teens are unlikely to announce this desire to develop a trusting and respectful relationship among their peers – that isn’t what is valued (at least on the surface). Yet that is what their raging hormones are really fueling – a need for an emotional closeness over physical intimacy.
Dr. Thurber prescribes that camp can be an important & successful antidote to the more popular notions of teen promiscuity. Camp provides lots of opportunities (even activities and events!) where campers can learn to build trusting & supportive relationships, where campers have great role models who provide excellent examples of quality relationships and where they can experience the positive and nurturing feelings provided by engaging in interpersonal, emotionally based relationships (otherwise know as friends!).
At Camp WeHaKee, the focus is consistently on helping our campers learn how to develop and nurture quality relationships with others so that they can experience the benefits of these friendships. This results in campers who are better equipped to make healthier choices when faced with the external pressures to hook up. They begin to re-frame and reinforce their internal values to embrace relationship building over impulsively reacting to short-term physical intimacy events. Thus avoiding the emotional turmoil that ensues from the physical experience that is often based on nothing more than proximity.
The world our children and young adults live in is riddled with challenges many of us adults did not face when we were their age (at least at the internet fueled intensity!). This is what makes camp even more relevant and valuable for our youth! Although many parents try, it is virtually impossible to shield them from all that has the potential to harm them physically and emotionally, but a Camp WeHaKee experience provides them with the tools, the skills, the support and the stamina to successfully face the negative pressures they will face in their schools and communities. Another reason why Camp Gives Kids a World of Good!