Program in the Spotlight: ‘Becoming Men’

Caboolture State High School chaplain, Josh Woods, believes maturing boys need mentors.

“Many students I work with don’t seem to have positive role models around them. And even for those who do, I don’t think you can have too many good mentors. One of the most effective ways people learn what life is like, is from older people they respect,” he says.IMG_9164

Josh started ‘Becoming Men’ last year – an eight-week program that teaches boys about the importance of having mentors that model ‘manhood’. It ran in Terms 3 and 4 with eight Year 10 boys.

“Each week, we focussed on a ‘man skill’ and had a guest from the community come in and teach about that skill. The guests were from local businesses and community groups,” Josh says.

The guests included:

  • a mechanic who taught the boys about servicing their own car;
  • a car salesman who talked about what to look for when buying their first car;
  • a local hardware worker who taught them about home maintenance;
  • Josh and a cooking teacher who taught them how to cook spaghetti and pancakes;
  • a community member who taught camping skills, like how to start a fire with a flint and how to cut firewood safely; and
  • a pastor/marathon runner who spoke about self-care, like how to shave.

“The guests also shared about their lives, and a person who they looked up to and showed them what it meant to be a man. A lot of them talked about their dads or uncles. They encouraged the boys to find a man in their lives who could help them become the man they want to be,” Josh says.

Josh developed ‘Becoming Men’ with the help of other school support staff. “There are a lot of excellent programs out there, but I couldn’t find an existing program that fit everything I wanted to do. So, I wrote one and approached others to help, like the school Guidance Officer and Youth Worker.”

Josh says although it took time to develop and approve the program, the hardest part was finding volunteers.

Josh says there are a few things chaplains should keep in mind if they want to introduce a similar program at their school:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to plan the program.
  • Lock in your guests before the program starts.
  • Find out what resources your school can offer, like food for the cooking class.
  • If possible, bring in community members as mentors because the boys recognise when someone is giving up their own time, and are usually more attentive.

For further details contact Chappy Josh –