abstinence summer camp?

I’ll give it to the Colorado based Friends First; the website advertising their summer conference is pretty rock and roll. 

But the message that that conference is promoting is just as traditional and conservative as that of the larger abstinence movement.  This can be seem in organization’s goals which include:

  • Sponsoring events which support and promote the abstinence message to teens
  • Providing a resource to health advisory committees, community leaders and policy makers on issues which promote abstinence until marriage

The summer conference is designed to reinforce these goals during an intense three days, which the group’s website, YouTube video, and MySpace page make look a lot like summer camp.

But at this camp, kids participate in activities designed to keep them sex free until marriage. I have a feeling after-hours make-out sessions are frowned upon.

In addition to activities, a big part of the conference involves listening to speakers like the Black & White duo  (yes, one is black and one is white), a pair who, "DARE TO SPEAK THE TRUTH, TO A TRUTH OR DARE GENERATION!"  (The caps are theirs…).

During other sessions participants hear from college students like Mary Farrenkopf who warned last summer’s participants of the risks ahead. "Saying no, that’s easy," she told her local paper. "But try it when someone is in your face, when your friends, the people you live with, are pressuring you."

I don’t know about you, but I think peer pressure is usually a little more subtle than a group of kids cornering the lone dissenter and telling her she won’t be cool unless she smokes a joint or gives a blow job…

Friends First has worked hard to appeal to teens and tries to speak to young people in their language. The problem is, they’re not speaking to teens with respect. Instead, their approach is to use scare tactics and to assume one set of morals fits all. Doing this talks down to teens who the organization thinks can’t handle information about sexuality.  And that’s something that no amount of youth directed media can obscure.

Photo provided by Ian Wadie

Posted in: Health, Sex & Relationships, The State of Sex Ed
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  • Jenae

    I think an abstinence summer camp is a pretty cool idea. I would totally go to it. Being a christian I do believe that sex is a special bond that should be shared between a married couple. I do think that other information should be offered but not at this camp. I mean it's called Abstinence camp to teach about it, if it was called sex ed camp, then I'd understand them only teaching one thing. But this is different. If you want to learn about other things than abstinence, dont go to this camp.

  • That one chick who&#

    Heh, I'd totally get it on in an abstinance summer camp. It'd be hilarious. 😛

  • adanarama

    Note to blake – while I'm not fond of abstinence groups, making radical, unjustified comparisons doesn't strengthen our side of the issue.
    I'm all for abstinence if it's a teen's personal, informed decision, but groups that warp the truth or present only one side of such an important issue in order to try and scare the ignorant will get no respect from me. Abstinence-only education DOESN'T WORK. I know this from multiple statistics and experience. My best friend's ex had really conservative parents who didn't let him take sex ed, but it didn't keep him from pressuring her, it just meant the pressure was accompanied by a belief that the pullout method worked.

  • Rayette

    Well I think that an abstience camp is a great idea. If more teens would practice abstaining from sex there would be a lot less teen pregnacies and transmition of STD's. Over all I think that SEX is a very serious connection that should only be shared between married couples and I am personally saving myself for marriage and not just because of the bible but because it's my own personal choice.

  • Chris

    I think they mean well with this summer camp program, but I absolutely disagree with the treatment of teens as if they cannot handle the truth. We're at the age where if you want us to do something, we're gonna sit back and say, "Alright; convince me," and scare tactics and treating us like we're five isn't convincing, it's annoying. And quite frankly, it makes us even less likely to listen to you. Maybe they should do more research in the real world instead of the conservatism of the Christian right.

  • Blake

    Abstinence… puh.
    Plus all those guys from True Love Waits or Friends First are such Nazi KKKs.