OWL Human Sexuality Class
OWL (Our Whole Lives) is a course designed to teach
teenagers to make responsible choices about relationships, communication and
sexuality. We discuss anatomy, sexually transmitted diseases, prevention,
pregnancy, communication in relationships, and tough issues like abortion.
We base the course on science and
medicine, not on philosophy. We do not teach an abstinence-based course.
Abstinence, we believe, is a great choice for teenagers, but 95% will choose
to express their sexuality in other ways before marriage, according to
studies. We believe teens need this knowledge to stay healthy, avoid
pregnancy, and to draw the line when that is required.
OWL is a practical course. Before
each teen graduates from the class they will know how to properly put a
condom on an anatomical model, blindfolded. Instead of lecturing at them, we
have them experience making positive choices.
We conduct OWL classes from January
through March. The exact schedule may differ from year to year, but it
generally involves Sunday afternoons and some long-day sessions.
We alternate teaching junior high
school students (7th through 9th grade) in odd-numbered years and high
school students (9th through 12 grade) in even-numbered years. A junior high school OWL class
was offered in 2013, and a high school class will be offered in 2014. There is
usually an overnight for the high school class, with plenty of chaperones.
Class size is 12-20. First priority for enrollment is given to
children of Unitarian Universalists from the Columbia/Jefferson City area,
and we fill out the class with other children from the community,
particularly children of Columbia United Church of Christ members. It works
best if the attendees from outside our church have a friend in the class
The base curriculum we use was
co-written by the Unitarian Universalist Asssociation (UUA) and the United
Church of Christ in the late 1990s. We continue to update the curriculum
with more recent materials, as some of the science and best-practices
thinking has changed in the last few years.
For details regarding the OWL
curriculum, please see the following page on the UUA website:
OWL Team: Larry
Lile, Christy Hutton, Jeremy Duke, Mary Beth Schillinger