New Program at Cherokee Focuses on Building Community, Boys' Leadership Skills

New Program at Cherokee Focuses on Building Community, Boys' Leadership Skills
Posted on 04/25/2017
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photo of boys at man campAccording to Cherokee Elementary Counselor Audrey Young, the “three H’s” form a solid foundation for young males. Through a new program designed for 4-6 grade boys, she says, “We focus on heart, humility and honesty, helping these students understand their relationships with others and their own selves.”

The initiative was created in response to what Young saw as a need for the boys at the school to have a group led by male role models and target leadership skills. 

She adds, “The group also helps provide a community for those who struggle with friendships, seek deeper relationships and want to learn positive social skills. We have so many opportunities for girls, especially with numerous outside organizations working through the schools, but there was nothing for boys.”

Young recruited the school’s male teachers as “camp leaders” and they all – Jim Bodden, Todd Caulfield, Michael Halstead, Todd Overbeck and Jeff Redwine -- responded with enthusiasm. In addition, other adult males have participated as guest speakers for certain topics, such as Dr. Greg Finke, principal at Independence Elementary and Cherokee school parent Michael Curry.

The campers meet before school, starting with a “meet and greet” where each camper is greeted by another with a handshake, “rock” or Bro hug and a big welcome. The campers then have a discussion by a male camp leader that addresses positive leadership qualities. Following the discussion, the group has some type of physical activity that stresses the characteristics of the day. 

For example, Redwine and Caulfield recently talked about teamwork and how it is important as a leadership skill. Bodden then led the boys through a game called “A Long Day’s Journey”, where the campers had to work as a team to get all of their teammates from one side of the gym to the other without touching the gym floor and using all the equipment given to them. 

“This has been a wonderful pilot and each week the camp is growing by 5 more students,” shares Young. “The interest from boys and their parents continues to grow. In fact, a camper today commented that he wishes the program was every day!”

Cherokee Principal Valerie Montgomery shares the excitement about the program, saying, “Audrey has done a wonderful job with this program and we’re receiving such positive feedback from the participating boys and their parents. We’re already considering how we might expand the program next fall.”

Click here for Michael Clark’s recent Journal-News story.


Photo: Fourth through sixth grade students at Cherokee Elementary listen to parent volunteer Michael Curry as part of the school's new initiative to bolster leadership and social skills among young male students.