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Don't Do Our Whole Lives Online

five brown owls standing in a field

Melanie Davis, Our Whole Lives Program Manager for the Unitarian Universalist Association, strongly recommends that OWL programming be postponed until it can be done in person. She advises,

You can keep your participants engaged through online check-ins, social gatherings, games, or even group home study time, but please do not offer OWL online. It wasn't created for or tested for efficacy online. Its in-person interactions and experiential learning cannot be replicated on an online platform. More importantly, potential for harm exists online.

If a participant is triggered, facilitators may not notice and may not be able to offer effective support. Lack of privacy is a grave concern, as friends, parents, and siblings may be in the room, off or on camera. For youth and teen programs, parental permission is required, and that agreement can be broken if friends and siblings listen/view OWL workshops online.

In addition, the UUA and our United Church of Christ publishing partner must be responsible stewards of material we've been granted permission to use in print but not online. If you have questions about this, please contact owl@uua.org.

We only have a few Our Whole Lives workshops to go. Should we continue?

Nothing in Our Whole Lives is so timely that it is worth putting lives at risk. Once health officials give the all-clear, you can double up on your sessions or offer workshops for Grades 7-9 or 10-12 in 3-4 workshop weekend retreats until your program calendar is caught up.

What's Next?

The UUA and UCC are working to discern what options we can create and offer to you and your youth and families that uphold the safety of everyone and the integrity of the Our Whole Lives material. This takes time, so we ask for your patience and your grace as we work together.

We have begun monthly roundtables for facilitators and program supervisors. If you missed it, you can view the recording of the first webinar in May (Vimeo).

We will host a second roundtable on Wednesday, June 3, at noon Eastern. Register for the June 3 roundtable.

A third roundtable will be held Wednesday, July 1, at noon Eastern. Register for the July 1 roundtable.

Resources

About the Author

Melanie Davis

Melanie J. Davis is the UUA's OWL Program Manager and is an all-levels Our Whole Lives trainer. She is the author of Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education for Older Adults and Sexuality and Our Faith: Companion to Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education for Grades 7-9, 2nd ed. She was the developmental...

For more information contact faithengagement@uua.org.