Five Ways to Enhance Your Passport to Manhood Program

BGCA’s own Shannon Lake is back on the blog! She’s got ideas right from Clubs on how to make Passport a powerful experience for young men in the Club, plus two new resources to support your mentoring program.

Extra, extra, read all about it! Just when you were wondering how to revamp Passport to Manhood, we are giving you FIVE ways to enhance your programming! We’re coming in hot with two new resources that were created with the help of 20 brilliant Clubs, plus some ideas on making Passport, or whatever gendered or mentoring programming you use, more dynamic than ever.

In case you aren’t familiar, Passport to Manhood promotes and teaches responsibility in Club boys ages 8-17. Passport to Manhood sessions concentrate on a specific aspect of manhood through highly interactive activities and represents a targeted effort to engage young men in discussions activities that reinforce positive behavior. It serves as a companion to our programming focused on girls, SMART Girls. Be sure to follow the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page and join our Facebook group to get the latest updates on both of these programs and join the conversation!

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You are probably in the midst of planning for your Fall programming now, and Passport may be on the schedule! We’ve heard so many INCREDIBLE ideas from the Clubs who have been supporting us, and we couldn’t wait to share them with you. Here are five ways that you can enhance your Passport program now:

Add New Sessions

We’ve just released two new resources under the Passport umbrella that can be used as stand-alone sessions, swapped out for a Passport to Manhood session, or be added into the program. I’m excited to tell you all about them but instead let’s have the Clubs do the talking.

Culture, Identity, and Self-Esteem Discussion Guide – a new discussion guide with open-ended questions to lead youth through a conversation about how masculinity is impacted by and impacts culture, identity, and self-esteem. This session works nicely with or in place of Activity II-B: Self-Esteem and Identity in the core Passport curriculum.  Here’s what Club staff who piloted the resource said:

“Creating and openly discussing guidelines for the program. It gave the boys a chance to set the tone of meetings going forward! Sense of community and boundaries agreed upon by themselves!”

“I saw males walking with their heads up and more smiles on their faces. They started to build a lot of confidence. “

“The clothes and culture section was the most engaging. Our young men had many opinions of how they dress based on culture!

There’s More Than One Way to Be a Man – a teen-led event guide that walks teens through the planning process of hosting an event with community members around various types of masculinity. consider using this guide to sprinkle planning sessions throughout the program cycle to help youth design their closing session and celebration. Here’s what Club staff who piloted the resource said:

“The preteens now understand the responsibilities of what they have to do, in order to make an event successful but more importantly, they are able to feel the potential impact and understanding the importance of taking initiatives and building confidence (it makes the maturity process even more fun).”

“Leadership. leadership, leadership! Our young men went from being shy and not wanting to talk at all to some being leaders and speaking up when topics got deep!” 

“The thing I like most is putting our young men in a position to be leaders amongst their peers! Once our young men volunteered to lead, they were a little shy but eventually got over it!” 

Boys & Girls Club and Youth Center staff can download or order printed copies of all Passport to Manhood resources at BGCA.net. We are also offering these new resources as a printable PDF to EVERYONE courtesy of our sponsor Gillette, you can click here to download in one file.

Integrate MyFuture Activities

MyFuture is a great way to engage youth digitally. Activities can be completed individually or in a group, at the Club or virtually. While there isn’t a Passport to Manhood badge, there are many activities to choose from that have themes related to the program. Below are a few examples but check out MyFuture.net to explore more and pick activities best for your youth.

  • My Identity, My Choice – Use this activity to help prompt youth to think about gender identity and self-esteem. It can be integrated with Activity II-B: Self-Esteem and Identity in the core Passport curriculum.
  • And Another One: Changes – Use this activity with youth to prompt them to think about how their values and personal decision-making can be used to affect the world around them. It fits well with Activity III-B: Values and Personal Decision-Making.
  • Photo Essay – Use the Photo Essay Activity but pick a theme from one of the Passport to Manhood sessions to focus on. 

Learn more about how MyFuture fits into your existing program plans in this ClubX Blog post.

Write It Down

Provide youth with blank paper, pencils, pens and markers to create a journal or log to accompany their Passport to Manhood sessions.  Invite them to choose how they want to express themselves in the journal. Each journal will be unique. Some youth may choose to write reflections with words and others may choose to doodle or draw. Be sure to build in time for this reflection into your sessions.

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Add Movement

Sometimes it can be hard for youth to open up about their thoughts and feelings, so getting their bodies moving can help to unlock their willingness to share. This could look like using the Dance Move activity from the Play Breaks Guide to get youth moving during discussions. In this activity, also found on pg.7 of that guide, youth gather in a circle and with one volunteer in the middle doing a dance move. All youth in the circle then repeat the dance move and then transition back to the discussion. You would repeat this for as many rounds as you need to keep the energy and engagement up. The full instructions and additional ideas can be found in the Play Breaks Guide and the NEW Play Breaks 2.0.

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Engage Families and Caregivers

Think about sessions where it would be beneficial for family members to learn alongside of the youth in a shared activity.  The youth-led event created from using the There’s More Than One Way to Be a Man Guide or closing session are great opportunities for youth to showcase their leadership skills to their families. Need other tips? The also new Family and Caregiver Engagement Guide can help.

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Hopefully these five ideas for expanding how you run Passport in your Club will help spark some other ideas, for this program or even others. If so, let us know! We love to learn from and share the ways you’ve delivered content in relevant and exciting ways with your youth. We also give a huge shoutout to the following Clubs who have given input and inspiration into Passport to Manhood over the past year:

Ridgefield Boys & Girls Club 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston 

Children’s Aid Society 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County 

Boys & Girls Clubs of West Alabama 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Georgia

Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi 

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Ocoee Region 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, Inc. 

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities 

Union League Boys & Girls Clubs 

Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee 

Minot AFB Youth Program 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas

 Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio 

Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura 

Boys & Girls Club of the Olympic Peninsula 

China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station 

Boys & Girls Clubs of American Samoa 

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How have you run gendered programming at your Club? What are your best programming ideas? Let us know! Comment below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email ClubXBlog@bgca.org.


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