Six New Facilitators Train Up for Expanded Grade-School OWL

Group of smiling adults gathered for OWL facilitator training - photo

We did it again!  In January, UUSM Member Jacki Weber hosted an Our Whole Lives (OWL) training at UU Studio City, where she serves as Director of Religious Education. We had 13 participants from across Southern California and from Oklahoma, too. After many hours of training, UU Santa Monica has six newly minted UUSM OWL facilitators for the age group of K–1 and 4–6 grades. And we made some great connections.

It was a long weekend, but very, very rewarding. We shared a lot of learning and a lot of food. Our trainers were Ashley Johnson (from the UUA) and local OWL expert Emmalinda MacLean. We learned a lot about how OWL is adapting to meet technology challenges and new learning trends in our ever-changing world.

UUSM Youth RE Chair Beth Brownlie attended along with Members Shanna Shaked, Erik Paesel, and Jacki Weber, Jacob Brunell, and Cassie Winters. Jacob Brunell’s insights as a young person and recent graduate of YRUU added so much to our discussions. Congratulations and appreciation go to all those contributing to the revitalized OWL program at UUSM. Stay tuned to the Youth RE News feed for upcoming classes.

Stay safe!

One important element that came out of this training is that UU Santa Monica needs a Safe Congregations Policy, ASAP. We started working on this long and extremely comprehensive policy in 2017 when the Rev. Greg Ward arrived as our Developmental Minister. The Board of Directors made progress, and several community members contributed.

This year, the Rev. Amelia Mu’mina Marie, UUSM’s new Ministerial Specialist for Religious Education and Congregational Life, and Beth Brownlie made some updates on this document and we have submitted an interim policy to the UUSM Board of Directors. 

Why interim? Well, we need lots of careful thought and input on this policy as we formalize it. But we urgently need some guidance in place for now.

Safe Congregations concerns much more than children and youth. We hope the congregation will review the “permanent” policy carefully when it’s available for public comment. We’ve been reviewing policies from other churches, and the UUA provides lots of guidance.


I took Sex-Ed at ChurchWhat is OWL?

Our Whole Lives is a series of sexuality education curricula for five age groups: grades K–1, grades 5–6, grades 7–9, grades 10–12, and adults. The program is used in schools, agencies, summer camps, in virtual classrooms, and in Unitarian Universalist and United Church of Christ congregations across North America.

OWL helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. It equips (mostly) young people with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. All grounded in a holistic view of sexuality.

OWL provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality. Sessions are taught by co-ed teams of trained facilitators who have attended official OWL trainings.