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Summer Camp For Teens Focuses On Sex-Ed And Social Action

July 24, 2008

Knoxville, TN – While many teens are spending the waning days of summer vacation relaxing, some enthusiastic Tennessee high schoolers are at camp working on their advocacy skills and learning about disease prevention. Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee's Teen Live Action Camp is a two-day program aimed at teaching teens about sexual health, personal responsibility and activism.

Ginny Ramseyer Winter is with Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee. She says summer is a great time to get kids' attention.

"Teens respond better to their peers than they do to adults. They're on the same level, they're going through the same things, and they're just more understanding."

Another key component of the camp is advocacy and social responsibility. The teens will spend time out in the community helping with voter registration, writing letters to elected officials, and teaching about teen pregnancy options. Winter says being an active part of the community is an important step for teens, who often feel their voices aren't being heard.

"Teens really want to be involved; they're just not quite sure how. They feel like there are some things they really don't like that are happening in their communities and their society, but they just don't know how to make change."

She says currently one in four teenage girls has a sexually-transmitted disease. Critics of Planned Parenthood say abstinence is the only message teens should get about sex. Currently, Tennessee schools teach federally-funded abstinence-only sex education.

Barbara Dab/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - TN