The Camden First United Methodist Church will host its 5th annual Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Weekend May 28-30.
"This is our fifth year and every year it’s growing. We are excited about it and we hope to continue to make the impact (and to) bring awareness to teen pregnancy," Camden First UMC pastor Ellis White Jr. said.
White says he has a background working for DSS with an abstinence based youth program.
"I kind of brought (that background) into my ministry. Five years ago the United Methodist women decided to take this on and bring awareness to the community about teen pregnancy, particularly as it impacts this county," White said.
White shared that teen pregnancy can negatively impact the child in that they are more likely to be born into poverty and with health problems. According to the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Kershaw County’s average number of teen births is slightly higher than the national and state averages.
"We want to help young people understand that with those decisions come consequences and responsibility. (Statistics) prove that it puts them at a disadvantage because they are more than likely not to finish school and they are more than likely to have a child born with a low birth rate, more than likely their child will be born in poverty," White said.
White says that the weekend will equip parents to speak with their children.
"We have been able to really bring awareness and some pertinent information to parents and to children to help them make informed decisions," White said.
White is concerned about the ways that sex is portrayed in the culture.
"One of the battles is to fight against the myths, the street talk and the images that they see on TV as it relates to sex. Often time the church is not very bold as it relates to talking about sexuality with young people and we have got to do that because we are living in a society that is driven in alot of ways with sexual images, themes and music," White said.
The Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Weekend will begin at 6 p.m. on May 28 with a free Teen Pregnancy Prevention Youth Summit at Camden First UMC, 704 West Dekalb Street, Camden. The summit will discuss teenage pregnancy, how to talk about it and how to prevent it. There will be a separate forum for parents to learn ways to start conversations about sex with their children. Those interested in attending are encouraged to register by May 17 by calling 803-530-1726.
"One of the things we’ve added this year is the teen summit. We will have an opportunity to sit the teens down and share with them information on how to make decisions as it relates to peer pressure. The theme of the summit is ‘Teens Living Life Before Giving Life,’" White said.
On May 29, the Teen Pregnancy Bowl-a-thon will be held at Royal Z Bowling Alley at 8512 Two Notch Road, Columbia. The Bowl-a-thon will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and will cost $80 per 4 member team.
On the last day of the event will be May 30 for the 5K Teen Pregnancy Prevention Walk-a-thon at Camden First UMC from 8:30 a.m. to Noon. Tony Hines of Gold’s Gym will lead warm ups and Hartsville District Superintendent Rev. Dr. Robin Dease will be the grand Marshall. It costs $25 per individual, $100 for a team and sponsorship opportunities are available.
Proceeds from the weekend will benefit the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and the Family Resource Center of Kershaw County.
For more information about the event, call Camden First UMC at 432-3101.