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I was terrified of Teen Expo.
I was terrified the teenagers would hate us and would be rude to us or worse, would avoid us entirely.
But I was suprised by how receptive they were, and that actually it was pretty fun. I think I thought we’d have to be waving them over but they came to us. It was eye opening how candid they were- they weren’t censoring themselves in the way they might otherwise.
This led to some disheartening comments about “the AIDS” and date rape but also to a couple of very moving conversations: one with a teenager who didn’t want her friends to know she was having sex with her boyfriend but wanted advice, and one with a boy who asked “How do I know when I’m ready…how will I know if she’s the right girl?”
I think the ‘Wheely Sexy’ spinning wheel has the potential to be a great activity but it was difficult to manage in that layout->having to get out behind the table made it tough to operate but I think there’s definitely something to be had with it. Although the condom demonstrations were definitely useful and worked as a great starting point I sometimes found it limiting with conversations about sexual health- where as the wheel leads you to different topics with out it happening in a ‘forcing information down their throat way’.
It was pretty amazing to know that actually teenagers don’t just want to sit in their room and mope and avoid non-teenagers at all costs- they do want to talk, and they obviously felt freed by the setting to do so.
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