Developing Respect, Understanding, Relationships, Responsibility

Grow Boys Conference 2020, May 14
 G.H. Dawe Center, Red Deer, AB 

 Our Hope:
Grow Boy's Red Deer is a community initiative designed to provide support for boys of all ages in Red Deer to explore the deeper meanings behind RESPECT, UNDERSTANDING, RELATIONSHIPS, and RESPONSIBILITY. Boys are growing up challenged by a world that throws a lot at them these days: social/emotional issues; family issues; body image issues; technology issues; learning issues… so many issues, so many challenges.

We believe hope is an action word. If we hope to help the young men in our care become active, responsible and caring citizens as they grow and develop, we have to take action to nurture this hope; otherwise we’re just wishfully thinking.

Our Mission is to:
…provide an opportunity for fifth-grade boys in the Red Deer area to discover, improve and share their skills in a variety of contexts.

Our Vision is:
…a society that supports the unique social, emotional, physical and psychological needs of boys without bias or stereotype.

Our Framing:
We frame the challenges our boys are confronted with as opportunities; opportunities to get closer to becoming the good men we believe they will be in the future. One of our projects, the Grow Boys Conference is grounded in the concept of hope as defined by action toward purpose… a concentric model of human development. Surrounding the hope we have for the young boys in our care are four elements: Respect; Understanding; Relationships and Responsibility. We aim to address a variety of issues boys are facing today under these four general headings:

  • Respect- Respect is a curious element… we know it when we see it, but it’s a hard thing to explain. On our Hope Circle, respect is the phase of dependence. It’s up to us to provide context for young boys regarding what it is we want them to learn, and how we want them to grow. We’re framing respect as purpose. Before we can develop skills and perspectives, we need purpose. We have to know why we are doing something before we can learn how. The domain of respect is where we establish purpose; the place where we answer the question, “why?”
  • Understanding- Understanding is the domain where we begin to explore the concept of independence. Once we have purpose, we can move away from the sheltered phase of dependence to explore the world more confidently and purposefully. Stable and confident young men feel safe breaking away from the dependent phase if we’ve done a good job supporting them with purpose; the implicit sense that they belong to something much larger than themselves, something good… a secure base.
  • Relationships- This is the domain of interdependence. In the Relationships domain, young men begin to understand the enabling power of belonging to a network- a cohort of significant others who support them and help strengthen their secure base. Learning how to communicate meaningfully and honestly in the Relationships phase teaches our boys how to seek help when they need it and not take on the weight of the world alone.
  • Responsibility- The domain of Responsibility is the place boys arrive at where they feel compelled to share their knowledge, skills, and perspectives with others. They are now elders; those “who know.” As those who have already traveled the path, they feel responsible to nurture those who have yet to experience the journey. As those who know, they become part of the secure base for others who are finding their place on the Hope Circle.
Our Local Context...
We’re looking for a “few good men” to act as mentors and role models for our boys. We are counting on the good men of our central Alberta community to be volunteers supporting our boys during the conference, but more importantly, throughout the year as responsible, caring citizens of the community acting as positive examples of the kinds of good men we want our boys to become. There is no shortage of positive male role-models in Red Deer and the surrounding area... we want to connect with them.
We have already made many strong connections with groups representing various segments of our community, and we’re looking for more.

The “GROW BOYS” Collaborative Partners:
Kinsmen Club of Red Deer
Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools
Red Deer Regional Catholic Educational Foundation
Red Deer Public Schools  
Red Deer Catholic Schools  
Red Deer College-Applied Research Initiative 
Alberta Health Services-Public Health 
City of Red Deer  
Central Alberta Refugee Effort
Prairie Bus Lines
North Star Sports
If you feel you, or your organization has something to offer our project, please feel free to contact us at:
via Twitter @rdgrowboys