Teens teach facts of life

STEPPING OUT: Zion Maher, 14 of Mullumbimby High School, Amie Dreyer adolescent counsellor, Isabelle Henning, 15 of Byron Bay High School, Bella McFayden, 16 of Byron Bay High School and Griffin Bennett-Wise, 13 of Mullumbimby High School at Bangalow A&I; Hall.
STEPPING OUT: Zion Maher, 14 of Mullumbimby High School, Amie Dreyer adolescent counsellor, Isabelle Henning, 15 of Byron Bay High School, Bella McFayden, 16 of Byron Bay High School and Griffin Bennett-Wise, 13 of Mullumbimby High School at Bangalow A&I; Hall. Patrick Gorbunovs

MALE Year 8 students from Mullumbimby High School had a unique insight into the female psyche yesterday.

And it came not from crusty old 'experts', but from their female peers just a year or two older.

"You guys are getting some real inside information," the boys were told.

The male students were part of an innovative workshop presented at Bangalow's A&I Hall by 30 Year 9 and 10 girls from five local high schools - Byron, Mullumbimby, Kadina, Lismore and Richmond River.

The girls set out to explain to the boys how females feel and think when it comes to relationships, sex, communication, pornography, contraception and many of the other thorny issues involved in being a teenager.

The girls are part of The Chrysalis Girls, a weekly counselling program for girls.

Program founder and adolescent counsellor Amie Dreyer said the workshop attracted a State Government grant after the girls came up with the original idea to reach young males.

Ms Dreyer said Chrysalis Girls believed they would be more effective in helping to change the behaviour of young men.

"There is a large concern from health care professionals working in the Northern Rivers that adolescent boys are a notoriously difficult group to engage and that there are large numbers of STDs, unwanted pregnancies, sexual assaults and violence within the adolescent community and that a contributing factor is the lack of education for young men," she said.

One of the 30 girls presenting was Isabella Henning, 15, from Byron Bay High School who said the workshop would save the boys from having to learn the facts of life from "some old PE teacher".

"Adults have their head in the sand," agreed Bella McFayden, 16.

Yesterday was the first time for the workshop, but Ms Dreyer expected it to be made available to other schools as parents had been very supportive.

Topics:  sex teenagers

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