Intergenerational Engagement Programs
"It's easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."
Frederick Douglass - 1818-1895
"Boys are in trouble:
They lag far behind girls in early academic achievement, and are:
- more likely than girls to be diagnosed with behavior disorders
- more likely to binge drink
- more likely to commit crimes
- twice as likely to end up being the perpetrators of family violence
- three times as likely to be killed in accidents
- three times as likely to have gambling problems
- five times as likely to suicide"
Steve Biddulph / Brooke Hunter interview - 2015
Threshold is a program run by a circle of elder men who are committed to the purpose of making a difference through intergenerational engagement with boys on the threshold of manhood. This purpose aims to build healthy communities through mentoring and active engagement with boys. Threshold achieves this through training elder men to mentor and to facilitate workshops and young men's circles, in schools. See Men's Groups for more information on young men's circles.
Steve Biddulph, author of The New Manhood and Raising Boys, wrote, of the Threshold program: "I am so pleased you are doing this…………people really see a huge need for men to step up with boys on the brink. It's at the heart of our lifework, really."
Earl Hipp, author of Man-Making and Fighting Invisible Tigers, wrote, in response to the launch of Threshold in Australia: "….. in the USA, a dozen centres doing Boys to Men work (adventure and Rites of Passage) are having great success with young men's circles in schools. In fact the groups are meeting during the school day when the young men are basically captured. A man from the school [community] and a couple of trained volunteer men is all it takes - the young men love it and there's a wait list to get in most groups."
"In some communities schools are now asking for these groups. There's research being conducted that is showing great results on the lads behaviours, academic performance, school attendance, and respectfulness! The majority of the young men in these school groups are severely under-male-parented. The fact that good men and elders show up for them is a balm on their wounded souls, great role-modelling, and very, very good for the [elder] men too."
Sarah MacLaughlin, Changing the culture of Masculinity, writes:
"After working with children and families for over 20 years, there is one thing I know for sure - emotions drive behavior. Emotional states diminish access to what is called the “executive state” of the brain (technically known as the prefrontal cortex). This is the part of the brain responsible for weighing the consequences of your actions and planning ahead. When emotions are not allowed to run their course, optimal wiring of the brain, executive function in particular, is compromised. When we don’t allow boys to feel a full range of human emotions - fear, anger, grief, delight - we stunt them and weaken their emotional competency. A masculine culture that shames boys for connection, vulnerability, fear, or sadness compounds their social isolation, potentially increasing depression rates and the instance of violent behaviors. Every online source I checked placed the rate of violent crimes committed by men at around 90%. I subscribe to the commonly held theory that this is due to their early conditioning, namely, being conditioned to not feel. It’s fairly straightforward—if you are denied access to how you feel, your ability to be connected to, and have empathy for others, is automatically weakened. If we increase our awareness and support the emotional lives of boys more, we can help evolve the culture of masculinity."
Emma Partridge and Lara Fergus, of Our Watch, recently wrote:
"Respectful relationship programs will be compulsory in schools from this year. The government is preparing the state’s first gender equality strategy, specifically to reduce violence against women."
What is the Threshold program?
Effectively, Threshold is a mentoring service facilitating the introduction of Men's Circles, and 'Men's Work' to schoolboys on the threshold of manhood.
Who provides the Threshold service?
The Threshold service is provided, by a group of carefully trained elder men. Part of the service is the training of other elder men, from within the individual school community, to take over - and continue to provide the facilitation and mentoring service.
Where is the Threshold service provided?
The Threshold service is provided at schools / on school grounds.
When is the Threshold service provided?
The Threshold service is provided on weekdays during school hours.
What backup is provided to the Threshold service?
The Threshold service is backed up by an extensive national network of elder men from across Australia.
Threshold facilitators are specially trained in this regard and have a wide range of backup support resources at their disposal.
Other Intergenerational Engagement Programs
Pathways Foundation is a National harm prevention charity that assists young people make the fundamental emotional shift from being a child to becoming a young adult.
The award winning Pathways to Manhood and Pathways into Womanhood – a contemporary, community based Rite of Passage for boys and girls, Leadership Training for men, Leadership Training for women and YoungStars – a fun weekend for boys aged 6 -10 and their fathers.
Qualified Pathways speakers deliver School and Community Talks around Australia on “Raising Teenager Boys” and we also offer a Returning Young Man and a Returning Young Woman to join our Young Leaders program for those young men and women that wish to deepen their Pathways experience.