More than 200 mentors support Boys Club Network. Photo by Victor B. on Unsplash

More than 200 mentors support Boys Club Network. Photo by Victor B. on Unsplash

Comox Valley chapter of charity supports boys who seek connection

Mentors at Boys Club Network supports boys 12-18 years

It can be a great sense of security to know that someone has your back.

Mentors at the Boys Club Network (BCN) have the backs of adolescent boys across B.C. who are at risk of falling through the cracks.

The charity — founded by a team of high school administrators, teachers, counsellors, and youth and wellness workers — has various chapters across the province, one in the Comox Valley.

“It’s really, really effective,” said Gary Fort, a mental health outreach counsellor at the John Howard Society of the North Island who facilitates the local BCN. “We’re trying to provide them with as many healthy adult role models as possible.”

John Howard collaborates with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and Comox Valley Schools to deliver the program — which is funded by a group of philanthropist entrepreneurs, and supported by more than 200 mentors from all walks of life. The mentor list includes names such as retired hockey star Pavel Bure and former boxing champion Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini.

Through activities, curriculum and scholarships, BCN supports boys 12-18 years who are seeking connection. Many are in foster care.

Fort is working with a dozen boys at Isfeld Secondary in Courtenay. BCN also operates at Glacier View Secondary and at Lake Trail Middle School, where a teacher has continued the program. Through mindfulness exercises, mentors help boys get in touch with their feelings to be more effective in relationships. A big part, Fort said, is breaking that “toxic masculinity” that says men don’t cry or show emotions.

“We only show the non-vulnerable emotion, which is anger,” he said. “We try and break that stigma, help them to understand their emotions, process them and express them in a more effective way.”

The ministry has provided funds for the program, which helps pay for weekly pizzas, and fun activities. Before COVID hit, Fort would take his charges to Vancouver to watch a professional soccer or hockey game. Another fun activity was racing cars in Osoyoos. Some of the boys experienced a glimpse of life in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

According to feedback from leaders and educators, most boys in BCN chapters graduate from high school. Many plan to continue their education at college or university.

“Often all it takes is just one adult that shows that they care that can change the trajectory of a young boy’s life,” Fort said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

Langley Lake supplies the drinking water for Union Bay. File photo by Bob Ell
Comox Valley board wants to halt Union Bay-area logging plans

Regional district inviting forest company to work on watershed plan

Corwin Fox performs on the grounds of the Courtenay and District Fish & Game Club for a 2021 Vancouver Island MusicFest segment, with the iconic Comox Glacier in the background. The 2021 festival will feature numerous outdoor segments, highlighting the beauty of the Comox Valley. Photo via Island MusicFest
2021 Vancouver Island MusicFest format will showcase the beauty of the Comox Valley

The 2021 Vancouver Island MusicFest -The Virtual Edition - will be like… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Comox town hall. Black Press file photo
Comox takes step closer to finalizing Northeast Comox Storm Water Management Plan

“(This has been a) tremendous work in progress for many years”

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Most Read