Romance Academy US Completes First Pilot

IMG_20160103_195259The teens from Romance Academy US completed their course with a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant. They were presented with certificates of achievement and memory books which included photos of their time on Romance Academy.

The group formed in late October 2015. Three teens decided to embark on this new adventure, Romance Academy, a Healthy Relationships curriculum that GYA has brought it over from the UK. No other US teen has ever done a Romance Academy course – this was its first delivery in the US. While we had hoped for 10-12 young people to start the course, the pilot was small but perfectly formed. Despite a few similarities, the teens that participated were very different in their beliefs and values which is really what a good Romance Academy includes.

IMG_20160103_195529Romance Academy explores values and relationships. Values about why the participants think like they do – where those values can be strengthened and where they can be challenged with new ideas. It looks at all relationships, not just romantic ones, although those are the most fun ones to talk through! It explores families, friends and romantic relationships.

The first week dove right in to explore what sex is and what sex isn’t based on what young people think – they have to work together and think critically. It generated an hour of discussion just from that one activity!

IMG_20160103_195517After a couple of sessions it was time for the Romance Academy overnight experience. This included three sessions of the Academy including love languages and THE SEX BAG – a bag full of items that teens decide if they’re romantic, emotional, erotic or reproductive in nature. There are no wrong answers though, so to one teen an empty beer bottle was reproductive (you end up with a baby if you drink and then don’t use protection) while to another it was romantic (dinner dates). The participants also enjoyed team building at a local trampoline park and a video game session at the overnight location.

The participants also explored values around drinking and drugs, pregnancy and babies and ended up with an egg to care for for one week. They were given points for creative pictures doing ‘parental’ things with their eggs. One teen provided a cradle for his egg while another exposed his egg to his favorite TV programs. The young lady who participated had an egg fashion show, complete with hair style changes! This finished with parents coming and talking with the group about their experiences as a parent and how it changes your life.

The final weeks explored conflict resolution and violence in dating and families. It culminated in a presentation evening with a photo book of memories provided to each teen. Josh said ‘it’s like old school Facebook’ as they showed each other their books complete with printed pictures. Teens completed pre and post surveys to better grow the Romance Academy program.  

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If you would like to know more about the Academy or if you are interested in hosting a Romance Academy please contact us!

Romance Academy is in need of funding for its next two sessions starting in February 2016. Please consider giving here.