This fall, we will be offering an OWL program for 6th and 7th graders. Please scroll down for details of this important program at such a pivotal point in young people’s lives.
In 1999, Unitarian Universalists, in collaboration with the United Church of Christ, created the sexuality education program Our Whole Lives, known colloquially as OWL. OWL offers young people a profound opportunity to deepen their faith and put their values into practice. It covers topics and skills that both parents and students want to have available, but that most schools are unlikely to cover in scope and detail.
There are multiple age-appropriate programs, starting at the Kindergarten and 1st grade level. There is OWL for 4-6th graders, the OWL “centerpiece” for grades 7-9, then 10-12th grade OWL, adult OWL, and soon, elderly OWL.
OWL teaches caring, compassion, respect, and justice, and addresses attitudes, values, and feelings that people have about themselves and the world. Although the curriculum was developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ, the primary text that is used is secular and free of specific religious doctrine or reference. However, the underlying values of the program reflect the justice-oriented traditions of both faiths.
Many people ask us: “Why sexuality education in church?” Our response: Sexuality is an integral part of being human. Within our Unitarian Universalist faith tradition, sexuality is understood as both natural and positive and as encompassing ethical, spiritual, emotional, social, political and interpersonal issues as well as physical ones. Our faith has a long tradition of urging religious communities to take an active role in the promotion of education and justice in human sexuality.
And while the Our Whole Lives curriculum is itself secular, it is not value-free. The program gives clear messages about key sexuality issues, including:
- sexual health
- justice and inclusivity
OWL recognizes and respects the diversity of participants with respect to biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and disability status. The activities and language used throughout the program have been carefully chosen to be as inclusive as possible of this human diversity.
We are pleased to offer OWL for 6-7th graders this fall. This 6-7th grade OWL program is ten sessions and begins September 18. Here is the schedule:
2022 6-7th Grade OWL Schedule
18: Workshop 1 Sexuality and Values
25: Workshop 2 Images in Popular Culture
2: Workshop 3 Body Image
9: Workshop 4 Changes of Puberty
16: Workshop 5 Gender
23: Workshop 6 Feelings and Attractions
29: *Saturday 4:30 PM (overnight retreat) Workshop 7 Reproduction and Staying Healthy & Workshop 8 Decisions and Actions
30: No OWL workshop this day. OWL youth will attend the Coming of Age worship service
6: Workshop 9 Consent and Peer Pressure
13: Workshop 10 Healthy Relationships and Celebration