Program elements include weekly meetings, Adventure Weekend retreats, an annual experiential mentor training, and ongoing training and support for carefully selected and screened mentors. Our target demographic is male-identifying youth ages 12-17.
Every week Boys to Men mentors show up to offer boys:
- A community of mentors and role models who listen, encourage and believe in them.
- A community of men who model integrity, accountability, compassion and respect.
- A community where participants are empowered to speak their truth, and encouraged to take responsibility for their choices
- A community where participants feel supported, listened to and valued.
- A community where participants see their peers are facing similar challenges, and they are NOT ALONE in their struggles.
The weekly meetings combine learning, fun, leadership opportunities, peer mentoring and exercises to build self-awareness. All meetings are facilitated by one or more Boys to Men staff members, and supported by volunteer mentors. The group meetings range in size from 4 to 40 participants with an average ratio of 4 participants to 1 mentor.
The Adventure Weekend, held every year in the North East since 2006, brings together staff members and participants from throughout the region and is the next important step for the participants as they continue to choose the kind of man they want to become.
The Adventure Weekend is led by experienced facilitators and trained staff, and provides a 2:1 ratio of staff to participants. During the weekend, participants are challenged and supported through a series of carefully facilitated activities designed to help them cope with the ordeals they will face throughout their lives. They learn about integrity. They bond with peers. They learn about courage and service. Our participants and staff members spend more time together on this weekend than a typical mentor program provides in six months.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada, we moved all our programming and mentor training online through our secure Zoom platform. We are currently hosting 8 virtual circles a week for all our members. As additional virtual circle facilitators are trained and accredited, we will expand our online offerings to reach even more youth across the nation, providing safe places for them to connect socially and emotionally.
Our mentor training program, Reclaiming Your Teenage Fire, is a one-and-a-half-day workshop that has adults revisit the hopes, fears, dreams, and experiences of adolescence. Participants gain clarity on the price they paid to traverse their adolescence, and have the opportunity to let go of behaviours and beliefs they took on; many of which may still be driving their lives today. We also deliver trainings that teach practical microskills, such as active listening, empathizing, and paraphrasing that help men build a mentoring toolbox as they take on the unique helping role our programs offer.
In addition, our mentors keep their edge sharp by regularly debriefing and practicing self-awareness. The expectation is clear: We do not expect the boys to do any vulnerable inner work that their mentors are not practicing on an ongoing basis