I've been saving this very wonderful birthday-card-of-sorts from the also-very-wonderful Liz for almost a year now, looking for just the right time to post it. Seeing as we're two days away from the end of this 20th year and our next (our 21st!) birthday, it certainly feels like a good time.
Scarleteen turns 20 years old today. Twenty.
For two decades, we’ve delivered our unique and innovative brand of sex education, despite many financial, legal, political and practical barriers and battles. That kind of tenure for anything on the internet is unheard of, let alone for a grassroots, feminist sexual health, sex and healthy relationships initiative and alternative education project for young people, and one that was (and still is) queer, working class and woman-led.
Centering and serving young people, sexuality and relationships like we do, with inspired quality, care and vision, and doing so independently — and for free — for so long is so rare. Very few organizations and resources have consistently delivered all of what we do, as well as we do, and to as many as we have, for this long.
What's that shiny graphic there? Why, that's just a lovely little commemorative doodle we asked artist-in-residence Isabella Rotman to do for our TWENTIETH FREAKING ANNIVERSARY. For real, we turn 20 on Saturday. TWENTY.This queer, scrappy, irreverent little sex education engine that (sometimes barely, but still) could...well, somehow actually did.
I want to take time to talk about what I think really makes Scarleteen different from other sources of sex education and ways of doing sex education these days. And no, it's not that, as one of our team says, we've been made of effing rainbows since 1998 (well, not only that, anyway).
Last summer, we made a big, amazing thing happen for the first time. We brought nearly all of our staff and volunteers from across the United States, Europe, Canada and even Australia, to one beautiful place for a five-day staff campout and epic team-building retreat. And we couldn't have done it without the financial help we got from hundreds of our fantastic supporters (you rock!).
This summer, we're making a big thing happen we've never been able to do before: we're bringing all our staff and volunteers -- from the United States, Europe, Canada, and even our staffer in Australia -- to one place for a giant staff campout and team-building retreat.
Today, like most days, our site has been up and running, including its tremendous archive; probably serving around 20,000 users by the end of the day. All of our direct services are live: our message boards, SMS service and live online chat. Myself and some of the volunteers are in the middle of creating new content, like one of our in-depth articles or advice columns. The daily and collective creative brainstorming, problem-solving, observing and reflecting that goes on behind the scenes amongst our staff and volunteers, and together with our users, can and will happen today.
UPDATE! We -- and you! -- did it! WE SO TOTALLY DID IT! We met the minimum goal we needed to to avoid a strike and having to shut down any of our services. We can't thank the 1,000+ of you enough who have helped us do this, and who have made it possible for all the young people who need and use our services to keep on using them without interruption.