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Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

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Talking about sexuality with youth?

Hope all are doing well!

I am doing a presentation for Child and Youth Care Counsellors on Youth and Sexuality. As CYCCs they will be working with youth in a treatment program geared to towards complex mental health needs. I am looking to develop a presentation that is informative and interactive. CCYC'S work with youth and their families so my hope is to prepare the CYCC's to be more comfortable with talking about sexuality with youth.

Educational material will be incorporated of course, however I am really struggling on how to make this presentation fun and one that illustrates development and preparedness. Any and all suggestions and or tools are greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Jill Nugent

Mock individual talks. Use index cards and have the person playing the “Youth” have on the card different questions and have the staff answer the best way they can in front of class so they can get help from raised hands if they get stuck. AND only if they get stuck they can call help and hands go up and discussion starts.

Donna Wilson

Hi Jillian,

You might find this website somewhat helpful to get ideas

Danielle Jimeno

If you want to make it “fun” I suggest you take a look at the article ‘When the Cocks Crow, the Chicks Get Laid’ by Cedrick of Toxteth, CYC-Online , Issue 163, page 5: /sept2012.pdf

Gerry Fewster

The best conversations I've had with youth were youth driven. Are there topics the youth want to talk about? Share some time dispelling myths, talking circles and mutual aid groups are worthwhile. Explore and be mindful of what topics make the adults squeamish or uncomfortable; often these are VERY different than what make some youth squeamish. Do not make what you talk about with youth contingent on what adults are comfortable with because that is not necessarily safe or real for the youth.

"Hands on" activities are worthwhile. Learning to put a condom on a fake penis is great fun and uncomfortable (not a cucumber, please!). There is a great tool you can obtain called a "woody" (pardon the pun) that is a wood penis. Explore forms of birth control, safe sex, saying yes, saying no and how to check in with your partner on stopping sexual activity at any time as an expression of love, etc.

Talking about values as in where do we learn about the values and morals of sexuality and being sexual? The bible, Koran, media, peers, parents, cyc's, etc.

I tend to be more progressive and "liberal" in terms of sex discussions starting with what youth want to talk about and moving out from there. Make space for kids to leave if they become uncomfortable and emphasize no shame in this...which you as the leader will have to model and police.

Are there any youth leaders who are mature in their sexuality that can help you lead this conversation? Modelling safe adults partnering with safe teens is worthwhile because you can talk about what the characteristics of a safe person are. Talk about differing expressions of sexuality as all normal (self love, hetero, homo, bi, pan, a). Normalize that waiting to be sexual is great and explore consequences of earlier blossoming. Explore media stereotypes and messages.

Make an exhaustive list and make space for youth to add to the list anonymously (drop box, list on your office door).

Use a Talking Circle with a talking piece to facilitate conversation amongst your leaders that they can then use when they talk with their youth. This is the best way. Then everyone's voice is equally heard.

I must emphasize that often the adults are more uncomfortable than the kids. Self-care in moments where adults are uncomfortable is key, because a wily youth can steamroller a good youth worker into uncomfortable territory pretty quick and make the group unsafe for others, and themselves.

Peter de Long

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