Often, a teenage boy finds Boys to Men Mentoring when he needs us most. This was the case in the life of Journeyman Ryan, who came to his first BTM group at the age of 13 and is almost 17-years old now. Ryan’s father passed away when he was just three-years old and, despite having a strong bond with his older sister and mother, Ryan was lacking a positive male role model in his life.
Our Program Director, Anthony Hutchings, remembers the first time Ryan walked into a group and how clearly Ryan needed the support and encouragement of good men in his young life.
Anthony suggested Ryan join the Adventure Mountain Weekend that was just one week away, and after nearly three and a half hours of being interviewed and interrogated by Ryan’s skeptical mom, Genevieve, to ensure her son’s safety under Boys to Men’s watch, Anthony received the green light to take Ryan for his rite of passage into becoming a man with about forty other boys, mentors and group facilitators.
Ryan recalls that weekend well and explained, “That was when I realized my Boys to Men family will be there for me, no matter what.” As a junior at Steele Canyon High School in Spring Valley, Ryan still attends every Tuesday night community meeting and participates in activities BTM offers outside of groups, like a recent deep-sea fishing trip and evening surf sessions in the summertime.
Ryan’s mother and sister have also become part of the Boys to Men family, and the BTM Program Director, Anthony, has taken it upon himself to check in with them frequently to ensure we continue to fill the gap of the missing male entity in Ryan’s life. Anthony said, “Ryan has developed into a young man with self-respect and self-confidence and has learned accountability in our circles. I am so incredibly proud of him. We all are.”
As he prepares for his senior year of high school, Ryan has his eye on college and is considering getting a degree in psychology to be a negotiator for the police force. He explained, “I would recommend Boys to Men to other boys, whether they have a dad or not. I have a much better relationship with my mom and my sister now and I learned that I should always talk about my problems, even if it feels like maybe I shouldn’t. Now I am making the right choices, and it feels great!”
This video is Ryan’s story in his own words.