The Boys To Men: Rites of Passage programme (BTM) was started 6 years ago in Trinidad under the guidance of Ian Jeffers. The programme is essentially a developmental programme designed to build leadership skills of young men with a view to positively improving their lives and the lives they touch – families, friends, colleagues
The essential programme model follows on the ‘Rites of Passage’ journey that is incorporated by several societies, for instance, according to the western ideal, boys make the transition to manhood when they complete a University education and are able to earn a sustainable income. After such time, financial support from the home ceases and the ‘men’ assume their duties as providers in the household. Alternatively, in some traditional societies, young men are mentored by community elders and then face a series of ‘rites’ or ‘tests’ to prove their manhood, ranging from scarring their bodies to performing dangerous feats to demonstrate and prove their readiness for manhood.
The BTM programme is conducted in 8-week stages during which young men of selected communities meet in a common place at a common time (usually Saturday mornings or evenings at a facility in the community). The young men are usually between the ages of 14 and 21 however based on the needs of the individuals in certain communities, some participants are not within that age range. Meetings are facilitated through developmental conversation – the principal tool in creating positive dialogue among participants – to bring about an improved understanding of particular areas of discussion such as relationships, career development and education, family, fatherhood, self-esteem and spirituality. Boys 2 Men 2
Similar to the traditional ‘rites’, we employ the proverbial village elders to guide discussions on their particular areas of expertise, at select meetings. For instance, for the meeting in which the topic of career development is discussed, we have often called upon business leaders of Trinidad and Tobago to lead the discussion. Some leaders are drawn from within the Massy Group and others from the wider pool of leaders in the local business community. These ‘elders’ are carefully selected as they are usually individuals who have a story to tell – stories in which they are able to identify with the young men and speak about their attitudes and abilities to overcome the challenges that they faced on their journeys of development.
The programme is funded entirely by the Massy Foundation.
If you are interested in learning more about the Boys To Men Programme, email us at email@example.com.