Youth Spotlight: Rudy Boock creates a safe space for youth to talk about safe sexual choices
Walking into your first puberty or maturation class can feel uncomfortable for anyone. Comparing yourself to others, trying to understand the curriculum, and having questions you might be too embarrassed to ask.
Imagine all of that, on top of feeling like you cannot identify with lessons that should be giving you vital information about puberty and health. Many youth have felt this way, but one Battle Mountain High schooler is trying to change that.
Rudy Boock felt this way when it came time to attend his school’s maturation class. Boock is transgender and felt out of place during the lessons, which were focused on cisgender individuals and noticed limited resources that applied to LGBTQ individuals.
Feeling isolated, Boock wanted to make a difference for others like him. The information that is currently offered by maturation projects or the Red Ribbon Project are extremely helpful. Boock’s goal is to augment those programs by spending more time going deeper on topics. Boock adds “Plus, people don’t stop having questions about sex after they take a Sex Ed class.”
Mountain Youth’s mission is to create a community where all youth thrive, a community where our youth’s voices matter, a community where young people with a passion can make a difference. Boock introduced his passion project idea, Extended Sexual Education, to Valley’s Voice and it was accepted within days.
Extended Sex Ed strives to provide comprehensive, ongoing, and engaging sex education for Eagle Valley’s youth through monthly meetings with local experts. The project aims to create a comfortable space for youth to ask questions and learn invaluable information often overlooked in typical health classes by creating a space of community where youth feel comfortable and supported.
ESE wants to break down the shame and taboos surrounding safe sex, and foster an environment for learning. With relatable speakers and a relaxed environment, youth are encouraged to ask questions either in real-time or through an anonymous Google form. The focus is connection, instead of a one-sided lecture, to encourage group discussion. This environment will help other youth make connections and not feel as isolated.
Healthy relationships were the focus of November’s ESE meeting. Megan Vogt, a local licensed professional counselor, led a group discussion after a viewing of the 2018 film “Love, Simon.”
Boock raved about the first meeting and how the resources and answers Vogt brought were beneficial to everyone in attendance. He is excited for upcoming meetings with topics about safe practices with a registered nurse, a traditional sex-ed class with a focus on LGBTQ, and many more.
Boock’s passion for creating safe spaces will have lasting effects on many youth in Eagle County. After attending, he hopes that his and his partner’s work will change the negative mindset and attitudes towards sex ed classes while encouraging healthier life choices, and ultimately will change negative Healthy Kids Colorado data. To learn more about Boock’s work with ESE, follow @Extended_Sex_Ed on Instagram to keep up with a meeting.