The Willistonian, Est. 1881

“Boys to Men” Group Helps Students Explore Masculinity

Credit%3A+Mr.+Hanford.
Credit: Mr. Hanford.

Credit: Mr. Hanford.

Credit: Mr. Hanford.

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For the second consecutive year, a group of young men have come together to give boys at Williston a chance to discuss things they wouldn’t usually talk about.

The group, called “Boys to Men,” is run by Mr. Hanford, Mr. Eberle, Mr. Cunningham, and Mr. Rivenburgh. The group debuted this year at “Why Not Speak? Day” and will be meeting biweekly on Sundays. The emphasis of the group is to teach young men at Williston what it means to be a male in the 21st century.

With countless tragic events occurring in the past few years, Boys to Men gives boys at Williston a safe space to communicate with others about what is going on in the world.

The Boys to Men mission statement explains how important the male image is for young men today. It reads: “It is a space for honest and judgement free dialogue where males challenge the societal concepts of masculinity through supportive and frequent meetings.”

The statement encourages “each person in the room to be the man that one another needs to navigate the journey to a positive male image with love, kindness, fellowship, and brotherhood.”

Mr. Hanford has been planning this group for about a year, and learned a lot from the Phallacies, a masculinity group at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Hanford said, “Phallacies came last year to talk to a lot of the boys at Williston at “Why Not Speak? Day” and it gave Mr. Eberly and I the idea to start a similar group here at Williston.”

Hanford told The Willistonian that the goal of the group is simple: to reshape masculinity for young men.

“The goal is to help redefine masculinity for young men,” Hanford said. “I think a lot of young men have a skewed vision of what it means to be a man in this world. I want to provide a space where guys can come together, where young men can discover themselves.”

“I think that the best way to summarize the meetings is that we talk about anything that young men have to deal with as they develop into strong empathetic, caring, young men. We’re looking to shift the paradigm of what it means to be a man in the 21st century,” Hanford added.

Alex Berg ’19, a current member of Boys to Men, claimed that this group gives him a good space to share and listen to thoughts and ideas he wouldn’t normally talk about.

“I’d say that the meetings are very helpful for guys who don’t necessarily express how they feel inside,” Alex said. “I think that it is a very good opportunity for all of the young men at Williston, even if they don’t have anything to say, but to listen to some of the ups and downs of other people’s lives.”

Cam Mariani ’19 believes that the meetings can be awkward at first, but admits that sometimes it is important to step out of your comfort zone.

“But I guess that’s part of the point of the group,” Cam said, “you’re expressing things that you wouldn’t normally feel comfortable saying in public. I felt a lot more comfortable the second time I went and that will continue.”

 

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“Boys to Men” Group Helps Students Explore Masculinity