Sex Camp, WaKanDaHo Kentucky

Now before you get your panties in a bunch—sex camp is not what it sounds like.
Instead, the week is all about educating eighth graders about sex! Now, I was initially worried when I heard that I was being sent to Kentucky to talk about sex with eighth graders at a church camp. I conjured up terrifying visions of pastors preaching messages of abstinence and forcing young girls to take oaths over purity rings.

I believe that this is the county where WaKanDaHo is located! Kind of central to the state.

Once again, I could not have been more wrong. (Which seems to be a theme of the summer—proving my ignorant fears wrong).
My week at WaKanDaHo could not have been any more lovely. I got to sit in small groups with 10 eighth graders and talk about human anatomy, pregnancy, contraception, STIs, dating, and relationships.
Night one I quickly learned this camp was not what I expected as I heard youth shouting “PENIS” across a lake to a response of “VAGINA.”

One night right before sundown, a heavy rainstorm came in an ruined our capture the flag game, but this beautiful rainbow came out to greet us after the storm!

Eighters’ Camp, as it is known, is all about allowing youth to talk about the taboo and often stigmatized details of sexual relations. Therefore, they were absolutely allowed to shout from the top of their lungs words like penis and vagina and vulva. (The only stipulation was that they needed to use the correct terms, not slang terms like the p-word).

This was my lovely small group this past week. They were so loving and accepting. I miss them already.

And again on that first night, all my BS assumptions were rightfully corrected. Sarah, our keynoter explained that Just Say Know Ministries was not there to preach purity and abstinence, but instead give youth the knowledge to make better decisions in life. The goal wasn’t to get them to run off and have sex, but instead to teach them the merits of committed relationships and how to engage in behavior that is safe, for them and their partner.
WHEW! Thank God I was wrong this time. A week condemning sex would have been hard for me.
Over the course of the week we had so many deep conversations where we were all able to share freely about our lives—especially our lives pertaining to our relationships. Personally, I felt so comfortable I shared parts of my life that I rarely talk about out loud for fear of judgement. The environment created in our small group was an oasis from reality, where none of us judged or felt awkward about deeply personal stuff.

This was all of our campers at WaKanDaHo this week!

It felt truly liberating, and I would love to carry that same oasis with me where ever I go this summer. I was inspired by Just Say Know Ministries and their dedication to filling in the gaps of sex education for youth around the country. Surprisingly, I found out that in Kentucky it is illegal to teach anything except abstinence in public schools throughout the state. Therefore, Eighters camp is the ONLY sex education many of these youth have ever had.
So, bless the courage it takes to fearlessly educate youth on such an uncomfortable topic, and bless the ability to openly discuss and talk about stigmatized topics. Our denomination is truly an exciting and dialogue producing place. I am thankful and proud.
P.S. The video included in this blog is a gift that I made with my small group. It is a gift to the camp attempting demonstrate what our week at Eighters looked like. It is silly, it might not make much sense, but it generated so much laughter, I couldn’t help but share. 🙂

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One Comment

  1. Paul Uttinger
    Posted June 19, 2017 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    “… in Kentucky it is illegal to teach anything except abstinence in public schools …”

    Now, that is astounding (and sad and scary)!

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