Boys on the Right Track! Teaching boys leadership and other important life lessons

April 24, 2018

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

Most parents agree – it can be tough to keep our kids on the right track; to keep them moving along in the right direction. We do the best we can.

Sometimes, it takes a bit of help.

Have you ever heard of Boys on the Right Track? I hadn’t either. Someone told me about the program and I was intrigued, so I decided to look into it and learn more about it in order to share it – here with you.

Turns out, it’s pretty fascinating.

Boys on the Right Track was started four years ago by Juliet Meade, “My daughter was participating in a running program 4 years ago when a thought popped into my head– why isn’t there a running program for boys? I was working as a college professor at the time and decided to do some research. I was shocked to learn that boys are more at risk for drug use, depression, suicide, incarceration, high school dropout, delinquent behavior, and increased levels of aggressive behavior.”

So, Juliet decided to do something about it, “We designed a curriculum based on what research was saying boys need , and to empower boys–but also addresses the disparities that occur between genders by teaching effective communication, how to form healthy relationships, and resolve conflicts.”

Juliet shared the idea with friends and family. She got the word out and my – did it catch on, “I put it out there to friends and family that I was starting a running program for boys and advertised by word of mouth and social media,” Juliet shared, “We operated initially out of Brierwood Training Center in Hamburg, NY. The program sold out very fast, we did another season, it sold out fast again, so we did another season with the same results. We became syndicated in 2015 and offered it to different school districts as an after-school program. Orchard Park, Frontier and  Lake Shore were the first school districts to adopt our program.”

 

 

The sad reality is – while girls are thriving these days, boys can lag behind in the elementary years. Leadership skills, beginning at a young age, can be a game-changer, “Boys are more oppressed in the classroom but more disturbing–when women enter the workforce, the disparity shifts,” Juliet explains, “I hope that this program provides a solid foundation of skills that boys can take with them as they grow up.”

Boys need to learn the valuable leadership skills to help them all throughout life – which is much more of a marathon than a sprint, “Having 2 boys of my own, I wanted them to learn coping and strong communication skills, conflict resolution, healthy nutrition habits, how to manage their stress and anger, know how to build and maintain healthy relationships–live a life full of health and wellness.” And Juliet says the boys come away with an awful lot, “Utilizing an active learning approach, the program empowers boys to have greater self esteem and confidence all while having fun and being active. Topics covered include celebrating differences, how to deal with peer pressure and bullying, managing anger and stress, and other healthy living skills.”

Tools to take away, put away, and use when they need them.

 

Learning life skills while moving your feet, “While learning all these great lessons, they are also training for a 5K that takes place at the close of the program. This year, our Spring 2018 5K is on June 10th at Woodlawn Beach. The boys are not only trained to cover the distance but we go over pacing, stretching and strength training.”

It’s a program that is being repeated around the nation. Boys on the Right Track has operated their program in many different states and now have chapters in New York, West Virginia, Virginia, Florida and Massachusetts.

 Juliet says the difference – from the beginning of the course to the end – is pretty remarkable, “We take a survey both at the beginning and end of the program– and the boys have reported an increase in self confidence, improved ability to make and maintain healthy relationships and increased coping skills. I feel like we are giving them a head start on practicing emotionally and physically healthy behaviors, which are extremely crucial to the overall development and wellness during the middle and high school years.”
The program fee is $150 – but there is good news, “No one is ever turned away due to inability to pay. The first thing to do would be to call your insurance company– many will cover the cost as a benefit!” They also offer limited financial aid based on need – about 30 percent of the boys receive it. Juliet says it is her mission to make the program accessible to all. They need more funding and sponsorships.
They only take about 14-15 boys per site with two volunteer coaches. They fill up fast. For more information on this remarkable program, head to their website, boysontherighttrack.org.

 

About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.

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