We have nine girls and one boy registered for OWL. Should we try to get more boys enrolled?
This situation is not uncommon. Our Whole Lives is designed as a co-educational program to convey the message that people can and should be able to discuss sexuality openly across the sexes. Such discussions give youth practice for a lifetime of healthy communication. The curricula include discussions and activities for male and female small groups. If you have a large majority of either males or females, separate gender groups can be problematic. If there is only one participant of a certain sex or gender, s/he could feel uncomfortable participating in the group. A way to address this would be to invite participation by friends of existing participants, or other young people in the community, to round out the group. Be aware that full parent orientation and permission is necessary for parents of all participants, regardless of whether parents are members of the congregation. Combining your program with that of another congregation is another option. If none of these options are viable, it comes down to the choice of the individual participant and parent(s). Be sure that one of the co-facilitators is the same sex or gender as the lone participant, and that no one expects that participant to speak for their entire sex or gender. Remember that Safe Congregations guidelines require that one adult and one child/youth should not be alone together in an isolated space. Facilitators will need to take this into account when participants are in male or female small groups.
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