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Over the past decade, our understanding of the fundamental differences in child development, behavior, and emotional maturity between boys and girls has increased dramatically, and as a result, many gender-specific interventions and support programs have been developed to meet the needs of parents, teachers, and mental health professionals. However, these all take the form of responses designed to minimize an already disruptive behavior pattern. What has been needed is a pro-active program whose goal is to instill positive skills and patterns in 'at-risk' boys, rather than waiting to address problems after they are already visible.
The BAM! Boys Advocacy and Mentoring program fills this need by providing the first guidebook for group facilitators who want to lead preventative boys groups designed to foster communication skills and emotional connections. Based on years of research and refined over the course of countless sessions run by the authors, the program has been field-tested and tailored for use either in the school setting or outside. Over a series of group sessions, participants are encouraged to understand their emotions and interpersonal interactions without losing a sense of 'maleness' as a result of emotional growth and communication with peers about personal issues. The activities are designed to be engaging across age groups, and the individual exercises and program structure can be modified to fit into any existing school- or community-based mentoring system. The guidebook contains all of the information and tools a facilitator needs in order to implement and maintain these boys groups.