A Place for young men to learn about what masculinity means and how to navigate the things that come with it
The Council for Boys and Young Men is a strengths-based group approach to promote boys’
and young men’s safe and healthy development through pre-teen and adolescent years.
The Council for Boys and Young Men is working toward a future where boys and young men
develop healthy and diverse masculine identities which allow them to grow as respectful
leaders and connected allies in their communities.
Addresses Risk Factors for Boys
Rigid beliefs and norms about masculinity are harmful to the health, safety, relationships and
opportunities of boys and young men.
These beliefs lead to heightened violence, school dropout, physical and sexual risk-taking,
substance abuse, sexual violence, crime, and accidents amongst teen boys.
Marginalized youth, families and communities are impacted by these risks at greater rates. For marginalized boys, violence is the primary pathway into the school- to- justice system
The Council for Boys and Young Men meets a male gender-specific need by addressing and
challenging harmful masculinity beliefs and norms and supporting boys in developing safe,
healthy identities and behaviors.
The Council for Boys and Young Men offers training and curricula to guide the facilitation of
strengths-based programs which support the healthy development of adolescent and preteen boys and young men. In the groups, boys and young men find belonging, build assets,
and deconstruct harmful masculinity beliefs on their journey to manhood.
The model is a strengths-based approach that is informed by adolescent brain development,
trauma responsive and restorative practices, masculinity research, rites of passages, and
Utilizes validated, evidence based approaches including motivational interviewing, gender
norms transformative strategies, resiliency and assets development, and cultural responsive
The model is for all boys and young men ages 9 – 18 years.
While designed for male youth, it also serves adult male facilitators by increasing their skills
and capacities as role models, mentors, and supportive adults.
Healthy Competition, Bullying, Emotions, Gender Role Expectations, Self confidence,
Teamwork, Conflict Resolution, Finding and Using Power in Healthy Ways, Respecting
Others’ Physical Boundaries, Being Allies, Relationships, Education, Leadership,
Community Service, Diversity, Media Messages, Personal Values, Integrity, Future Goals,
Early Life Challenges and Overcoming Adversity, Cycles of Addiction and Decision Making,
Nature as a Healing Environment, and more.
What is Needed to Participate?
To participate, boys make a commitment to attend the meetings, and agree to follow cocreated community agreements, typically to include: show up, no put-downs or
interruptions, offer experiences – not advice; keep the focus on yourself and your experience;
and keep what’s said in the group confidential. Facilitators explain confidentiality and legal
and ethical exceptions to confidentiality in order to safeguard the boys’ well-being. Boys
participate at their own pace. Participants can express a range of ideas and emotions with
peers and can expect respect and high regard from one another.
Rather than attempting to “instill values”, the model strengthens and elicits boys’ inherent
capacities for good and diverse pro-social values and behaviors.
Boys Council Groups Forming Summer 2023
YWCA will be hosting Boys Councils this summer. One Council will held on Tuesdays, starting June 6th from 4 pm to 6 pm at YWCA. The sessions will include one hour dedicated to Boys Council and one hour for recreational time. To sign up for this Council, please go to this link:
We anticipate scheduling additional Boys Council groups and ask that if you are interested
and not available to participate in the Tuesday session at 4 pm, you contact YWCA at
618.465.7774 and ask for the Program Development Specialist.
Core Lessons of Boys Council
- experiencing the feeling of belonging and connection with adults and peers
- discovering the principles they want to live by
- recognizing others’ perspectives and experiences
- developing empathic skills
- participating in fun and stimulating activities
- finding motivation and courage to act on their principles
- desiring to act with self-respect
- finding respect for girls and women and for all those that they perceive as vulnerable
- learning to be allies to each another and within all of their relationships and
finding restored hope, belief and skills to live a good life