Surprised kids get more than caramel corn and candy floss at ploughing match
Ploughing Matches are long-running tradition in thousands of farming communities across Canada.
Each year, area farmers and tradesmen combine forces and stage a week fair, giving them an opportunity to show off new techniques in plowing and a chance to sell their wares to the locals.
It’s also a time for inner-city kids to escape their concrete playgrounds and enjoy an agriculture weekend. Tractors, candyfloss and petting zoos are the order of the day.
The recent International Ploughing Match in Ayr, near Cambridge, Ontario, was, to the casual observer, no different. However, many of the 150,000 (including 30,000 school-aged children) who attended the match were shocked and dismayed to learn that condoms were being passed out to their children.
A number of community information booths were set up to provide community information at the ploughing match. The Kitchener Waterloo Public Health Unit booth made condoms accessible to adults as well as children of all ages. Just in case some of the children missed the basket of free condoms, a “guess the number of condoms in the jar” game was also made available.
In addition, a pamphlet Condom Sense, produced by the Waterloo Region Community Health Department, was distributed. The pamphlet cover had a number of dancing heads. Inside, it contained graphic descriptions and diagrams detailing “How to Use a Condom.”
A section entitled “Condoms for all occasions” defined anal sex, vaginal sex, and oral sex. A cartoon of more dancing condom heads followed, along with the caption “What can you get from using a condom? Nothing but pleasure and protection.”
The Condom Sense pamphlet was full of erroneous information about the safety of condoms. According to those who saw it, the information was inappropriate, misleading and could be dangerous in the head of the very young children who received it along with their condom. One observer was astounded to see the stamp of approval on the back of the pamphlet, the official cry of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo.
Jakki Jeffs, Executive director of Alliance for Life (AFL) Ontario was at the ploughing match. The AFL booth was situated in the same section as the Public Health Booth. Mrs. Jefffs noted the contrast between the wide eyed innocence of the small children as they studied the fetal models, learning about the value and beauty of the human life, and the cold calculated betrayal of innocence just across he way at the Public Health booth.
One young boy about nine visited the AFL booth. Holding his black condom in his asked Mrs. Jeffs also observed a number of children gathered around playing a game about condoms before hey could have a candy.
Another AFL representative was present at the Public Health Booth when a girl who appeared no more than 13 was handed a pink condom along with the bright pink pamphlet of dancing condom heads. The AFL representative questioned the operator of the booth about passing out the materials to such a young girl without parental supervision. The Health representative stated: “She may have to make a safe sex decision.”
Mrs. Jeffs was shocked and disheartened by the “betrayal of innocence of the young children” as well as the total disregard for the need to distribute age-appropriate materials: disregard for the rights of parents to safeguard their children from harmful information: and disregard for the religious and moral values of families who attended the ploughing match.
She pointed out that the action was a “total betrayal of trust of teachers and parents who allowed the schools to arrange class trips to event. Not only did the Public Health booth betray those who attended the event, but they betrayed the committee that set up the ploughing match.
Bob Brooks, of Kitchener Waterloo Right to Life is pursuing the matter with the local Chairman of the Waterloo Regional Community Health Department as well as the Mayor of Wilmot and Town Councillors of the Waterloo Regional Community Health Department as well as the Mayor of Wilmot and Town Councillors and Mrs. Jeffs has spoken to organizers of the regional exhibits regarding monitoring of information passed out at future events.
This incident has left many wondering just how often these condom pamphlets re distributed if occurs at the many fairs and community events throughout the province. Parents are warned to monitor all materials passed out take care that children are supervised at all times.
As Jackie Jeffs pointed out, “It is time to ask, where are the jellybeans?