Uncle is a mentoring program that exists for boys who could benefit from a more supportive environment of positive male role models, to enhance their social, creative and physical skills.
“To show boys, by example, the characteristics of a good man. These include: respect, integrity, honesty and successful relationships within their community with women, children and other men. To encourage men, by example, to display the characteristics of a good man in everything they do, but particularly in four ways:
“Uncle strives to achieve equal numbers of men and boys on its activities and camps so that the male energy is not just boy energy but the boys experience some exposure to and experience adult male energy.”
“Inspirational! The kind of modest and low key yet powerful program that can have a huge effect. Uncle is a brilliant idea for getting more good men into the lives of children. Everyone benefits, and youngsters have better lives as a result.” Steve Biddulph
What does an Uncle Program do?
- Uncle facilitates supervised public activities where men and boys interact, learn, work and play together (surfing, sailing, cooking, etc.).
- Uncle also runs regular weekend camps, handyman days, and also local fund raising events such as car washes.
- Uncle recruits, screens, trains and supports men in building good relationships with the boys; and
- Develops and monitors appropriate one-on-one mentoring relationships as natural friendships develop
The participants in an Uncle Program include:
- Boys aged 6-12, particularly those without active fathers, who could benefit from a more supportive environment of positive male role models.
- Men in the community (typically aged 20-60+).
- ‘Older brothers’; boys over 12 who may or may not have been mentored in the Uncle program when they were younger and now take on some responsibility at activities.
- A network of like-minded single-parent families (usually headed by a female).
Who Benefits from an Uncle Program?
- The boys: an Uncle Program gives them a social network outside of school and the family, where they can find their place in the world while observing appropriate behaviour.
- The older boys: an Uncle Program gives them a place to explore responsibility and leadership.
- The men: an Uncle Program gives them a way to give service and contribute to community well-being and engage with other like-minded men outside of work and the pub.
- The mothers: an Uncle Program gives them a way to network and share with other single-parents
- The community and society generally: an Uncle Program builds community and positive relationships between local boys, men and women.