I’ve read plenty about “No Sex Please ..” but I now have the video of the programme and am looking forward to watching that tonight. It’s clearly had quite an impact and the search engines have been busy with searches for Dan Burke, Rachel Gardner and the TV Programme.
Dan left a comment saying:
“In the next 2 programmes you will see some amazing things”
How’s that for a teaser? He also mentioned the Romance Academy website which has got some great info on the project.
There are more comments on the programme a couple of entries back!
I have now watched the first episode and am incredibly impressed, I may use it when I’m training people in small group work. The piece I was asked to write for the Diocesan Newspaper is below (click “continue reading”)
On the 6th September BBC2 began a series of three TV programmes entitled, “No Sex please we’re teenagers” a kind of reality TV show in which twelve young people aged between 15 and 17 pledge not to have sex for five months.
What marks this out though is that it is the vision of two Christian Youth workers, Dan Burke and Rachel Gardner whose work this is. They have put together a “Romance Academy” to challenge young people’s attitudes to sex and present an alternative to the world most teenagers grow up in. Dan and Rachel, the programme commentator notes, “have such faith in this project that they have put their jobs on hold and their reputations on the line!”
The twelve young people in the programme, with one exception, have all been sexually active, one since the age of 12. Most of them lost their virginity when drunk and share a feeling that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Sex has continued to be a key feature of their relationships since, “Once you pop it’s difficult to stop,” one of them says and they are sceptical about the benefits of abstaining for five months but do all commit to the project.
At the time of going to press only one episode had been aired and covers the first few weeks of the project. Rachel and Dan talk openly and honestly with the group and the discussion is open, at times funny and also very real. The programme follows the group onto a residential and through the things that go badly and the things that go well ….. It’s quite a journey and the group begin to learn a lot about each other and themselves. Even in this first episode many of the teenagers start to view relationships in a different way and consider themselves to have grown – by way of the challenge as well as what they are learning and experiencing.
The programme then changes location as the group travel to America and visit a Church that heavily promotes the Abstinence message.
The group struggle in their encounter with the Church there. They are, bar one, non-Christians and one of them remarks that the experience was like “Jumping in at the deep end when you don’t know how to swim!” It also seems that the approach of the American church doesn’t employ the same level of dialogue and negotiation as Rachel and Dan do with the group. It certainly fuels conversation amongst the group though!
The first episode ends there with the promise of further challenges to come. …..
I was incredibly impressed with the youth workers involved and the young people for their willingness, honesty and vulnerability. If you are interested in understanding the sexual climate teenagers are growing up in then this is definitely a programme to watch. Even more though, it is a programme to watch if you are interested in helping teenagers to be able to think about how they view themselves and relationships, and if you are interested in challenging the norms of a sex saturated society where our young people are often the casualties.
More information on the project can be found on www.romanceacademy.org