Charlottetown “Saved sex, not safe sex” was the challenge brought to junior and senior high school students across Canada this spring.
During a 6-week tour, two 12-member teams of young adults went into the schools with personal stories, statistics and helpful suggestions, to present chastity as a viable life style choice.
The PEI segment culminated in a provincial rally sponsored by Catholic Family Services and Canadian Youth Pro Life Organization (CYPLO). It drew 500 students, at least half of them males.
The many parent-chauffeurs who set aside their own plans for that Friday evening, played a special role in ensuring its success. One of the parents said, “Our kids heard about last year’s rally, and when they saw the team presentation at school they wanted to come, so we filled the car with teens, and here we are.”
The program was a resounding hit with the youth. It included a mix of solid information in an upbeat package, lots of pizza, line dancing, and friends old and new.
Gay Garvey, provincial coordinator for Island Challenge ’94 and president of Chastity Challenge International, says “Abstinence is generally presented as a method of birth control, but we talk about it as a positive lifestyle. People assume that chastity restricts freedom. But the young people say it frees them to live a carefree lifestyle.”
The rally opened with an address on “The Truth that Will Set You Free,” by Fr. John Powell of Chicago, author of many books on theology and relationships, including Happiness is an Inside Job.
“As Christians we know that forgiveness and love are always in God’s heart for His sons and daughters, even the prodigal ones,” he stressed.
A second speaker, family therapist Loretta Brady of Illinois, focused on the Biblical directive to love God, self and neighbour.
“Love yourself by taking care of your body, filling your mind with good stuff, and learning now to relate in a healthy way so that you won’t be a patient in my office in five years,” she advised.
The Challenge team presentation included a dramatization of the following dating tips.
- Make a personal commitment to living a chaste lifestyle.
- Building a support network of like-minded friends.
- Set your personal behaviour limits – and don’t go that far.
- Don’t entice your partner to go beyond his or her own limits.
- Find nice ways to say no.
- Stick to group dating.
- Develop creative dating ideas.
- Think ahead; avoid dangerous situations like alcohol or long periods of time alone together.
The notion of teams touring with dramatizations of a chastity message originated with Rebecca Morcos, 22, of Edmonton and Ottawa. She organized the first tour in 1993 with a single 11-member team, and expanded this year to two 12-member teams. She expected the Chastity challenge to reach 100,000 students nation wide.
Team members say their classmates were full of questions about chastity as a lifestyle. After the rally, young people flocked around them, many asking to join the teams. It happens after every presentation. Perhaps the Teams are right when they declare, “Chastity is the sexual revolution of the 90s.”