At the core of our program, we host two in-person J-Groups, one virtual J-Group, and one Hangout or Service Project every month.
“J-Groups” are two-hour group mentoring sessions with mentors and Journeymen, who we call “J-Men.” These meetings are structured opportunities to explore aspects of healthy masculinity. The young men learn about accountability, integrity, personal responsibility, honest communication, emotional literacy, and the importance of discovering and articulating a sense of personal mission in the world.
These are safe spaces in which J-Men are encouraged to talk about the events, emotions, and experiences of their lives. It is where they get to practice being fully alive and communicative among men and peers, and where mentors are challenged to model authentic manhood.
Additionally, every month we have outings, which we call "Hangouts". Hangouts provide opportunities to continue deepening the bonds of trust between J-Men and mentors, and usually take place in a natural environment. Our goal is to create a space where the boys can experience the joy of play, explore the wonder of the outdoors, and engage in regular team building initiatives. We also join together for quarterly Service Projects, encouraging the boys to serve their local communities.
We are not formally structured to create one-on-one pairings between J-Men and mentors, primarily because we have developed our program around group mentoring, which provides an opportunity for the J-Men to learn from multiple men and integrate the best and most relevant parts that they glean from each mentor.
All Mentors have been subjected to state and national criminal background checks and an extensive in-take, assessment, and training process.
The mentoring relationship is one of mutuality and respect. Both the mentor and mentee create and contribute to the strength and gifts of their bond, regardless of age or experience. This is why Journeymen mentors can form meaningful relationships with adolescent boys in which they can feel comfortable sharing their truth. Because we don’t preach or dictate, we are in a unique position to simply hear them, and honor them for right where they are while we model authentic empathy, respect and connection.
Parenting relationships are different, as parents many times need to maintain a position of authority over children and adolescents. While this is necessary, and even a responsible thing for a parent to do while their boys are growing and maturing, it also means that many times boys will not readily open up to their mothers and fathers.
Being a mentor can be incredibly rewarding, and many times challenging, as it requires the mentor to strive to be the very best version of himself, and completely accept and honor the mentee no matter the challenges they face. Men and boys in community with one another is also nourishing to the soul.
We ask that you:
- Be at least 19 years old
- Be interested in working with young people
- Be willing to adhere to all program policies and procedures
- Be willing to complete the application and screening process
- Be willing to submit to a background check
- Be dependable and consistent in meeting the time commitments
- Attend mentor training sessions as offered
- Be willing to communicate regularly with program staff and take constructive feedback regarding mentoring activities
- No use of illicit drugs
- No use of alcohol or controlled substances in an inappropriate manner
- Not currently in treatment for substance abuse
Mentoring is a simple process. It’s as simple as showing up and being present for the J-Men, which means being authentic. Many times as mentors we feel that we have too many issues in our lives to be able to set a high example for the boys. Actually, when we show up and bring our failings and show vulnerability, it builds trust with the boys, and the example we set of grown men willing to be vulnerable and actively engaged in a process of doing our inner work is priceless.
That said … we hold monthly men’s mentor meetings, which are vital opportunities for us to explore where we need to strengthen our mentoring skills and provide mutual support.
Our training process is designed to:
- Assist mentors to develop better listening and empathy skills
- Bring awareness to issues from adolescence that may be continuing to affecting our lives as men
- Create a bond among the mentors so we can support each other in being the best mentors we can be
- Convey the roles and responsibilities that we have as mentors in the lives of these young men
We ask that you:
- Make a one-year commitment
- Contribute a minimum of four hours per month
- Attend one to two J-Group mentoring meetings per month
- Attend the monthly men’s mentor meetings
- Serve as a positive role model and friend
- Attend training sessions and additional workshops as the opportunity arises
We co-create the group with presence, accountability and integrity with each other in our Journeymen community. Each Mentor is fully and completely responsible for himself, his intentions and choices. As such, every man is invited to search his heart, mind, life and journey for what he chooses to offer the group, and what he hopes to receive.
We serve as a group to provide each other with mutual support, understanding and guidance in our effort to mentor the boys of Journeymen in such a way that helps them to become young men of integrity. We come willing to be open and honest, to share our hopes and fears, insights and shadows, to be present, to share with our hearts, and be willing to give and to receive. We come to respect ourselves and our fellow Mentors.