I remembered to tape Episode 2 of No Sex please we're teenagers which followed the continuing development of the Romance Academy. Richard has beaten me to talking about it again but there are still a few things that truck me.
The first was the way that the programme demonstrated how the teenagers themselves came to be really articulate about the impact being part of the academy had on them. They spoke both to a group at Stowe school and also each of them spoke to individuals that they knew (friends and siblings). However the programme demonstrated what can happen when we try to push young people in at the deep end too much with talking about things to a group. Don't get me wrong I think it is great that the academy aims to use young people who ahve been through the academy as leaders of new groups in the academy. Yet I think the young people had not got to a point when they could talk to a group of their own peers. There was that awful moment that anyone who's been in youth work for some time knows only too well. The group just closed down and SAT. They wouldn't speak. I really felt for Dan and Rachel. It's a horrible thing when the group dynamic just clams up.
I just think it was too soon for them and I think we can sometimes do this with young people and faith issues; expect thejm to be able to speak to their friends about their faith when that faith is still just bigger than a mustard seed. Yes that faith has the potential to grow into a great tree but I think it does need more feeding from others mature in the faith before it can encourage growth in others.
I hope that Dan and Rachel were able to look at what the young people from the original Academy said at Stowe and remember THAT instead of the stilted conversation they had with the potential new members. One of the girls spoke so well about how through abstinence she had come to relaise that relationships are about talking and getting to know the person. I would have been SO PROUD if one of my young people had said something like that (actually I WAS really proud of one of my young people who spoke last night to our Mission and Outreach group about what Bible study CAN be like and how it can be relevant - he rocked! I nearly blubbed with pride!)
One part of the programme I particularly like was when Dan and Rachel were talking to someone official (wasn't paying enough attention to work out who the guy was) about why their scheme had show success. He wanted them to say what their PLAN and STRATEGY had been. Rachel explained that thye had been very open to the project being organic and growing with the group rather than following a strict calendar of events. They man responded yes but the scheme has shown some success and we want to know how we can help other schemes learn from it. COuld he not hear it? it was BECAUSE the Romance Academy had allowed for organic growth and NOT stuck to a predeterminded format that it had worked. THAT was the lesson to be learned!