Teen Camp: Relationships, Spirituality and Sexuality

By Nat Shed, Director of Friends Camp This three-day camp session will give teens an opportunity to explore relationship ethics and to define the elements of healthy and equal relationships. Teen Camp starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18, and ends at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21. A few years ago I read an interesting article about a teacher at a Friends’ school, Al Veracchio, who teaches teens about sexuality from a comprehensive, positive, ethical and joyful perspective. Al Veracchio’s story inspired me to bring together a group of Youth Adult Friends —many of them former campers and counselors — to design a three-day Teen Camp on the ethics and joys of relationships and sex. The planning team for our new Teen Camp includes: Kate Bonner-Jackson, Lucy Churchill, Liz Doran, Kate Fussner, Lisa Graustein, Ben Guaraldi, Will Jennings, Clementine Little, Porsha Olayiwola and Katherine Sorrows. At the first Planning Team meeting, we gathered in silence and then shared our personal reasons for joining the group. We brainstormed a list of ideas, values, and feelings that we hope teen campers will take away from this unique camp session. Here are a few:
1) To gain comfort with the topic of human sexuality and relationships.
2) To be knowledgeable enough to navigate relationship issues and sexual decisions.
3) To prepare for courageous conversations about relationships and sexuality with friends, partners and parents.
4) To understand the meaning of sexual consent and to have the ability to respect the wishes of others.
5) To be able to look to Quaker values as a guide for talking about relationships and sexuality.
6) To be comfortable talking about bisexual/gay/straight/transgender identities of oneself and others.
7) To have a better understanding of the problems with hetero-normative thinking.
8) To build trusting relationships with fellow campers for on-going support around relationship and sexuality.
9) To understand and appreciate that all bodies are different.
10) To view sexuality as joyful, sensual, caring and fun!
We are taking these outcomes and turning them into six thoughtful and interesting workshops, and leaving lots time for waterfront activities, electives, evening games and vespers. We hope you’ll join us in August for this new Teen Camp.