Dear Parents and Caregivers,
We hope you’re all staying safe and sane in these most trying times. We are writing with some updates about Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education program plans at UUFR. We typically follow a bi-annual rotation of programs for lower and upper elementary age bands and have the goal of offering annual programs for 8th grade and High School cohorts. You can find out more about OWL HERE.
The OWL Ministry Team has decided not to offer child or youth OWL this church year—it’s just not safe for us to meet in person, and the UUA has strongly recommended against doing OWL classes online. The plan is to postpone the classes to 2021-2022 (provided it is safe). Our priority will be Jr. High OWL (8th and 9th grade) and Lower Elementary OWL; as leadership commitments allow, we may also offer High School (in a weekend format) and Upper elementary.
This decision was informed by advice from the UAA not to attempt virtual OWL programs and the UUFR Lead Ministry and Board:
- No Virtual OWL: https://www.uua.org/leadership/library/re-distance/owl-online-dont
- UUFR Covid Safety Guidelines: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/recent
However, during this year, we ARE hoping to add a NEW Virtual Parent OWL course beginning in the New Year. We think this is the best way we can offer support to parents, the primary sexuality educators of their children and youth, while we are unable to offer our regular OWL programs. Our ability to offer these courses will depend on adequate leadership commitments AND participant commitments. We will use a 10 session curriculum, which you can view here.
If you know that you would like to participate in this course if we are able to offer one or more sections of it, please complete a commitment form HERE. Note that we will only be able to offer courses if we meet minimum participant and leader requirements; please do NOT sign up if you are unsure if you will be able to commit to this program. Viable course sections may remain open to additional registrants, but the purpose of this form is to determine if we meet minimum participant goals. We will make a final decision by Dec. 17th about the course(s) offered and expect to begin in mid to late January.
If your child was in one of our 2020 OWL cohorts (upper elementary and Jr. High (aka ‘8th grade’), please know that our ministry team will be working with course coordinators to make plans for course closure and final celebrations. You can expect to hear by direct email about those plans in the weeks ahead. If your child was hoping to take the High School OWL in the spring, which was canceled, please know we are working hard to make that class available as soon as retreat-format courses are safe. We will adjust our age bands so that no high school student misses their chance to take the course due to changes in plans caused by the pandemic.
If you have questions or concerns about our modified OWL plans, contact me at: [email protected]
With lots of care,
Tryst Chagnon, Family Ministry Director
Chris Breivogel, Kim Breivogel, Beth Nicholson, and Tami McKay, OWL Ministry Team