There are some excellent pre-existing materials out there – take a look at the sources of information and organizations listed in Support in Your Community for inspiration. Become familiar with what these organizations offer and incorporate the existing materials into your campaign. These are great starting points and are useful as themes to include in any of the activities you choose to do.
Work with adult allies
Having the support of adults such as teachers, the principal, guidance counsellors, public health nurses, parents/family, and community leaders can make planning go a lot more smoothly.
Find out what’s already at your school
If your school has a health action team or student council, get them on board! There’s no need to start from scratch when there’s already a motivated group of people ready to help.
Put together a team
Working with other people in your school can really make your voice heard and make activities more fun! So find a group of people who are interested in the topic and put your heads together to come up with a great action plan!
Consult with experts
When planning activities, it’s important to make sure that best practices around public education and growth and development topics are covered (consult Support in Your Community for more information on who to contact in your community).
You don’t have to be the expert
Your local Public Health Units, local sexual assault centre, and other community members have expertise and resources to help you take your activity to the next level.
It’s okay to say, “I don’t know”
While leading these activities, you might get questions from your peers on growth and development topics. Remember, it’s always okay to say, “I don’t know” and to refer them to an adult ally or expert in the community for more information.
Customize activities for your school
The ideas on this site are suggestions and idea starters. Your team can discuss whether a proposed idea works for your school and community and change it as needed.
If you have a completely new idea for an activity and want to try it out, we’ve included a blank template for your planning. Be sure to share it with us after the event and let us know how it went! You can connect with us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), via Twitter (@OpheaCanada), and on Facebook (OpheaCanada).
Work with or build on existing events
Events such as Respect the Pink, Pink Shirt Day, Pride Month, or Prom provide strong platforms to make your message heard. This way, you’re building momentum and spreading the word even further!
Be aware of triggers
Growth and development is an umbrella term being used to reference a variety of topics including body image, diversity, healthy relationships, and self-esteem. We are so excited that you’re willing to be a leader in your school and connect with your peers on this topic, but you may encounter people who have experienced past trauma, or know someone who has. It’s important to have supports in place so that students know where they can get help or receive more information during or after the conversation. Your school counsellor, public health nurse, or an adult ally can help you identify sources of assistance to have available at events and activities, such as local counselling and crisis supports (consult Support in Your Community for more information on who to contact in your community).
Work together to put an end to myths and stereotypes
How we understand topics like body image, diversity, healthy relationships, self-esteem, and sexual health is often influenced by misconceptions and false beliefs. This can reinforce ideas like the victim is responsible for what happened to them—as if the way they behaved somehow contributed to the harassment. Work with a team or an adult ally to make sure that your activities don’t reinforce these myths (for more information go to: sexualhealthontario.ca/myths).
Incorporate calls to action
Activities are more powerful if they include a call to action or a link to where participants and spectators can find more information if they’re interested. Have materials on hand during in-person events, or include links on your posters or other materials so that people know where to go if they want to learn more.