Having the good fortune to be chosen as a presenter at this year's Knowledge Institute turned out to be a fantastic opportunity to showcase what Grow Boys! is all about, and more importantly, to share our concept with teachers who teach boys in grades other than grade five. Our rationale has always been to provide a local network of people supporting the happy, healthy growth and development of boys within our community from birth to adulthood. We had to start somewhere, and chose grade five as our jump-off point mainly due to the fact that an annual conference for fifth grade girls has taken place for about ten years already in Red Deer. The "Go Girl" conference addresses the issue of physical literacy for girls and intends to highlight the importance of staying active, eating healthy and making healthy choices. We have worked closely with, and learned a great deal form this well-organized effort to support girls.
Our focus is a bit different, however. We intend to develop a broad network of support within the community that extends way beyond the school, and beyond the fifth grade age group; one that sees school resources and community resources become synergistic creating a solid platform that is replicable in other communities. Our vision is to create a local culture of support for boys in a variety of contexts that can be applied to any community... as long as there are people within it that have the will to step up and take action.
I met a number of people at the symposium who expressed interest in supporting the boys they work with. One male teacher of grade two students asked, "how would this support look for my kids?" Another who works with grade eight boys told me he teaches a sport psychology class and saw many parallels in the messages he's putting out to his students and what Grow Boys! is saying about how to best support boys. The Knowledge Institute brought about ninety like-minded people together to talk about how to best support boys; boys of all ages.
Many thanks to Jay Hetherington and the Knowledge Institute for this wonderful opportunity to share what Grow Boys! is all about.