Executive Director of the North Central Arizona office of Boys to Men Richard Mansbach, left, was named the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year this past summer for his work with Boys to Men in that community. The organization will open a school mentoring program at Chino Valley High School this month.
Boys to Men, an international organization dedicated to mentoring young men, is looking for volunteers to help out in the Chino Valley area.
The organization, based in San Diego with chapters in Canada, Europe, and South Africa, is beginning a new school-based mentoring program at Chino Valley High School.
"We're really excited about this program," said Richard Mansbach, executive director of the North Central Arizona office. "We've seen this program help in lowering tardiness, lowering drop out rates, lowering disciplinary problems, and improving grades."
CVHS principal Wes Brownfield said he is looking forward to the group setting down roots on campus.
"I had the benefit when I was young to have some really strong, positive male influences in my life, through scouting and sports," Brownfield said. "But many of our young men don't have that and I think this will be a really good program for our local kids."
The group concentrates on positive reinforcement, discussion, and building trust and respect among the participants.
One of the key activities of the group is the Rites of Passage Adventure, a weekend of bonding where kids learn many of the activities that Mansbach says just are not available to kids today.
"In past generations, kids learned certain things from their fathers and other positive male figures in their lives," said Mansbach. "While the need for positive influence has always been around, family circumstances today, with either single parent households or households where both parents need to work, often create a void in young men's lives."
Tom Rollis, the organization's school partnership and family support coordinator, says he feels the need today is greater than it has been in centuries.
"About 200 years ago, the rites of passage disappeared in our society," said Rollis. "Up until then, every culture, every tribe, had their own rite of passage, something that boys went through on their way to becoming a man."
Rollis said in today's culture, the rites of passage are often negative influences.
"Now, the rite is often a kid's first drink or first joint," said Rollis. "Families are so fragmented, neighbors don't even know each other anymore. Everybody is just working and trying to get by."
Both Mansbach and Rollis stress that the adventure weekends are not an aggressive training camp-style outing, but a place where young men can receive positive reinforcement.
"This is not a boot camp. We don't think the boys are broken and we need to fix them, it's just a place where we can be there to listen, to give them a voice," said Rollis.
For information on the group's activities and how to qualify as a mentor, visit www.boystomenaz.org or the organization's home web site at www.boystomen.org.
Group leaders will also be on hand to answer questions during a CVHS Open House on campus from 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 24.
Posted: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
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Great group of boys and men in this organization. I have seen great outcomes for the boys that get involved. I invite all to look into this organization and find a great place for boys to speak their truth without the fear of judgement or shaming.