Building Men Summer Camp Teaches Emotional and Academic Skills

     Published on 8/7/15   Tagged under:    District News   

Thanks to the Building Men program, middle school-aged boys in the SCSD get to experience a unique program, helping them build academic, athletic and emotional skills! Started by Hughes Physical Education teacher Joe Horan, the program is now in its 9th year.
During the school year, Danforth and Grant have the traditional program during the school day, while Clary, ELMS, Ed Smith and Roberts have an after school program. A new 4/5 model is taking places in the morning at McKinley and after school at Hughes in an effort to draw in younger boys.
In 2013, the program was expanded to include a Building Men Summer Institute, hosting 25 boys. In 2014, the Summer Institute doubled, and this year, 100 boys were enrolled!
The program uses basketball and football as a hook to engage boys. Then, they participate in character talks about their purpose, passion, relationships, what it means to be a man and more. In 6th grade, the focus is on team building. In 7th grade, the focus is leadership, and in 8th grade the feature is a young manhood initiation.
The summer camps held at H.W. Smith and Lincoln offered students a workout, two classes featuring academic curriculum, lunch, field trips and guest speakers and basketball drills, games and clinics. Mr. Horan said the ultimate goal is simple, “I hope they develop a sense of belonging and hope,” he explained.
For H.W Smith eighth grader Matthew Schley, a second year participant, the program taught him life skills. “I learned it’s important to have good relationships, because when you’re older you can use those relationships to seize opportunities,” he explained.
Students experienced field trips that taught team building, such as a visit to Adams Eden Camp and a high ropes course at Orenda Springs. They participated in a community service project at Clarks Reservation, and they visited Catholic Charities homeless shelter and Cazenovia College.
Seventh grader Victor Arrah said these field trips were his favorite part. “I liked visiting Caz College because it was neat to see what college life will be like,” he said.
Classmate Zavian Young enjoyed the college trip as well. “I’m having lots of fun and meeting lots of people,” he explained. “But I want to go to college and get an education, so the field trips and learning about math are great.”