by Amy Kramer, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
“These are my people.” That’s what I thought as soon as I walked in to the CFLE’s National Sex Ed Conference. It was the first time I’d been to this annual event, though hopefully not the last. Not only was I able to sit in on some really interesting workshops , but I was fortunate enough receive an award on behalf of The National Campaign, and to deliver a keynote about using MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” as a teaching tool with teens.
“16 and Pregnant” is a topic I’ve discussed many times in many settings over the past few years. Still, this may have been my favorite presentation yet – not just because the feedback was good and the follow-up questions were great – but because it is particularly empowering to be in a room full of colleagues who have made sex education their life’s work. Sex educators are the friendliest bunch of folks you could ever hope to meet. Plus, it’s refreshing to be with people who can say “vagina” without blushing.
I feel more optimistic about the future when I know there are dedicated professionals intent on finding ways to reach young people (and old people, but young people especially) with helpful messages about sex, pregnancy prevention, contraception, and healthy relationships. Not just the biology lessons, but the other parts of the puzzle that are perhaps even more meaningful and relevant to the audience. After all, sex isn’t only about body parts – it’s about feelings and hopes and dreams. When it comes to sex, what you don’t know can put you at risk and can affect the lives of those around you.
Many thanks to the good people at the CFLE, the innovative workshop presenters, and the smart participants who made at the conference a terrific success.