Mixed "sleep-over"?

I’d like a “reality check” before I potentially voice a concern to our youth director or pastor. Sometimes I tend to be a lot more conservative than most other parents.

Our parish is hosting a ‘youth rally’ this summer for kids going into 5th and 6th grade (about 70 kids). It will be followed by a ‘lock-in sleepover’ in a neighboring school. Instead of having the boys and girls sleep in different rooms our youth director has opted for them all to sleep in the gym - boys on one half, girls on the other. They will be the only ones in the school that night and have access to the entire school, so they do have the option of putting boys and girls in separate rooms. When I heard this I casually asked our youth director - “do you think that’s okay?”. He said he did because most kids typically bring shorts or sweats to sleep in, with t-shirts (no pajamas), and it will be easier if everyone is in one room. I let it go at that until I could think about it more.

I guess I’ve always thought of ‘sleeping’ as a personal thing, regardless of what you’re wearing. To me, boys and girls at this age (11 and 12) shouldn’t be sleeping in the same room, to begin teaching modesty and appropriate behavior. But then again, it is a fairly good sized gym and there will be quite a bit of space in between the boys and girls (I suspect).

Can you all share your thoughts on this situation with me? What do you think? Would you raise a concern? Would you let your 11 or 12 year old go?

Let me begin by saying that I’m only 26, with 2 kiddos (16 mo. & 4 weeks-in-utero), and I don’t think I would ever let my children do something like this. I, myself, have never wanted to do anything like this, even when I was junior- or high-school aged. It has nothing to do with anything sexual, since I don’t think the kids could get away with anything like that, anyway. But like you said, it’s about modesty. When I was a preteen/teen girl, I would not have wanted tons of other people my age to see me in the morning with my hair uncombed, groggy eyes, etc.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I’d have to vote No on this one.

No, no, no, no, no. Dr. Coleen Kelly Mast has spoken about this on her radio program. Perhaps there are some archives about this topic. There is no reason to have a mixed-sleepover. Why put temptation within reach of all those raging hormones? Those kids belong home with Mom and Dad, IMHO.


Absolutely not - I remember many a heated discussion with my own mother about sleepovers with one particular friend who had an older brother and sometimes invited other boys IIRC. At the time I thought Mum was being totally mean of course, but later on I found out some of the stuff the kids used to get up to :eek: I will never stop thanking her!

Nope - not a chance. Girls and boys in seperate rooms or my children would not go. I would let the youth pastor know why they weren’t attending.

Poor idea.

“most kids” do not sleep in modest PJs. Guys sleep in boxers, girls go bra-less. The girls will notice when guys wake up with a morning stiffy- and we all know it happens.

Even in the most innocent situations, it is almost always a turn-on to see the opposite sex in their bedtime attire regardless of what it is. At least for me, anyway:o DH just looks so cute in his flannel hershey kiss pj pants, and his grinch pants, and especially his boxer briefs…:wink:

There is no excuse not to have the teens on opposite sides of the building and in separate rooms, or even better, on separate floors. If possible, the “up all night” room should be between the sleeping quarters with no possible way for teens of the opposite sex to get past in the wrong direction. This requires plenty of chaperones willing to stay up all night to supervise.

ABSOLUTELY NO…I would not let my 11/12 y.o. go to a - sleepover. I would raise concerns with whomever will listen, and keep your kid home. Perhaps you can have a fun sleepover at your house with a couple of your child’s friends. IMO, it is just asking for trouble to have an event like this, I don’t care how well chaperoned or how the kids are dressed. It’s simply not necessary, and could be an occasion of sin for some. Whatever happened to just going to a ball game or something? Sheesh.

No, they’re too old at that age for a mixed sleep-over. Mischief will happen.

Definitely voice your concern to the youth director AND Pastor.

They gym is a big place, and when the lights are dim, and chaperons are sleepy, little people can sneak around rather easily. Best not to even put the temptation in front of them.

We are youth volunteers - this is one of the great things about the Catholic Church - there are rules for all these things!

Just this past weekend, we had 500+ teens at State CYM convention, the regs kept everyone safe and happy.

Your Diocise has regulations regarding any retreat or lock-in. Ask the Youth Minister what these regulations are, you can also contact the Diocise and get these regs yourself. Every parent should make sure these guidelines are followed! If a leader is “winking” at the regs, they need to be educated or reported.

In ours, no mixed boy/girl sleeping in the same room - even if that room is the size of a gym. They must be in different rooms, there have to be doors between these rooms, and there is a very strict number of adult chaperones who must be trained and working the event. We have cancelled retreats because chaperones dropped out at the last minute.

Help the YM protect all the kids involved.

I thought it was going to be a lock in or something where people don’t “sleep”. Hell no. That would not be something I would let my kids do. If it were one of those lock ins where they play card games or soemething maybe, but not where they will have the lights off and where sexy pjs!

My understanding is that at lock ins, most kids stay up all night.

Even still, our rule has been no co-ed over nighters.

I wouldn’t host a co-ed overnighter in my home, why would I send my kids to church for one?

My kids know they can go, but are picked up at midnight.


I think this might be a bigger problem than the mixed sleepover thing - although I would say (and have said) “No” to that as well. Schools are big places, and at night they are big, DARK places. If it is anything like mine, there are enough back hallways, stairwells, nooks and crannies to make any parent nervous. If the kids have free roam of the building, somebody is just asking for trouble. They should be restricted (by locked doors, gates, etc.) from roaming beyond the area that can be supervised.

One more thing I thought of - I assume there will be parents supervising as well? I wouldn’t want men supervising my daughter while she’s dressed in her jams - modest or not. In a dark room - all through the night - no way, NOT a chance.

That’s an excellent point, Carol Marie.

i agree with everyone…i wouldn’t let my kids attend this.

I think youth director has rocks in his head and no kids of his own. he had better check diocesan rules on this type of event because in this diocese he would be fired if he tried it. this whole thing is ringing all my alarm bells. an adult in a position of responsibility over youth who does not know the rules or deliberately suggests breaking the rules is a danger to himself, the kids and the parish. also a liability nightmare waiting to happen.

Youth ministers have to work hard to get this one wrong.

mixed-gender over-nighters are a bad idea. why? because it is our job, as the parents, pastors, youth ministers to promote chastity in our youth.

the whole conversation of outcome is ludicrous. having raised 5 teens so far and having 5 more to go, i’ve experienced this scenario before. parents have insisted “nothing happened. the kids were great!” my response, “well then, the kids are smarter than you!”

God gave us our children’s souls to foster, guide and protect. putting them smack center in the occasion of sin is unfair, unkind and unloving to them.

Wow, I am going to be the lone ranger here. I chaperoned a trip to Washington DC for my daughters Catholic High School. Our accommodations were in a gym with the boys on one side and the girls on the other. We had 47 kids and about 10-12 chaperone’s. Including men and women, teachers and priests… these were 14-17 yo boys and girls. Trust me, the kids didn’t dream of getting out of line with all us adults there!!! We had bigger problems with them using cell phones at late hours than anything else.

If you are uneasy about it, we put folding tables down the center of the gym and clearly set the boundries from the very beginning.

I can’t add anything better to what everyone else has said. I agree that this is an extremely bad idea. I would also discuss it with the pastor and everyone else who has put their names on it.

Protect your kiddos. One day they will thank you for it!

We used to have Lock-in sleepovers too when I was in youth group but usually they mean you don’t sleep and you stay up all night. We also had a dress code for “evening wear”

Only yoga, sweat or track pants for girls with teeshirt/sweatshirt(not see through) and must keep underclothes on.

Same for guys exception of bra:)

I am guessing this is something that would be well chaperoned? Our youth minister required 1 chaperone for every 2-3 kids.

And BTW way even if they were in different rooms or building some teens always find a way. I used to work for Franciscan summer conferences and believe me we caught enough high school kids.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.