The Being A Man Festival 2016 was a wonderful opportunity to meet a diverse range of people, all forming a collective unit to address the challenges and pressures of masculine identity in the 21st century. On the last day of the event, we had the pleasure of speaking with two excited young visitors from the New Horizon Youth Centre. We showed them a copy of volume 1, and as soon as they heard about our educational plan for schools and youth organisations, they immediately went in search of their youth worker, Chad Solomon.
On learning about the services provided to young people by New Horizon, we knew we wanted to be involved in some way. The centre provides a vital support network for 16-21 year olds who have become homeless, offering everything from counselling and accommodation, to hot showers and laundry facilities. Chad informed us that he runs a weekly men’s group, and was keen to try out the Being ManKind sessions in the next quarter! He ran the first session in mid-February, and provided detailed feedback to help us revise the session plan. We were keen to observe the reactions of the young people in person, so Chad kindly arranged for us to visit the centre the following week. We were not disappointed…it was a truly fascinating and rewarding visit.
The experience was far removed from the primary school classroom setting that we had been accustomed to over previous weeks. We felt privileged to get to know the young men, and were bowled over by their enthusiasm, and raw honesty. Our ultimate aim is for the Being ManKind stories to inspire conversations, for young people to challenge one another’s thinking, and to consider their role in society and the influence they can have on others. It was wonderful to see this in action. The session began with an introductory activity ‘Shipwrecked’, which required each person to think of a positive personality characteristic and skill/ talent to fight for their right to stay on a desert island. From that point on, the room was filled with animated conversation, and we were taken aback by their willingness to discuss their experiences of suffering from low self-esteem, and the emotions they felt at the time.
Chad is continuing to undertake Being ManKind sessions at the centre, and we can’t wait to report back on how the remaining sessions are being received.