The Men Engage Summer Institute (MESI) began on Monday July 2 at the National Public Library.
MESI is a week-long summer camp for boys aged 12-18 where the participants will be engaged in practical, skill-building exercises, and discuss issues of masculinity through a series of interactive, dynamic sessions.
Monday’s activities included a session on Disaster Response facilitated by Sherrod James of the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS). Among the topics covered in the session were Assessing Physical Injury, Common Household Risks and Hazards, Effectively Navigating Disaster Situations, and Potential Careers in Disaster Management.
He also discussed the gendered expectations placed on men during a crisis or natural disaster.
“We need to learn how to wash, cook and take care of our children and elderly, these are basic life skills that need to be learned especially during emergencies,” he said.
“We need to get away from these genderroles that box us in.”The first day of the programme also featured a session from the Antigua Barbuda Red Cross led thenyoung men in CPR and First Aid Demonstration.
Programme Coordinator, Jamie Saunders, says he hopes the programme, which targets 30 young men, will encourage the participants to step out of their comfort zones.
“I’m hoping that they will challenge their current views as it relates to the social issues that affect them which will allow them to explore and redefine those views,” he said. He noted the programme would provide opportunities for networking, and public speaking that he hoped the participants would take advantage of.
Acting Executive Director, Farmala Jacobs, noted that the camp’s demographic is one that is often neglected by social programmes, particularly during the summer months.
“We realise there is a need to engage young men and boys to find out what issues are important to them. We will continue to find new and innovative ways to create programmes that is designed to meet their needs and to promote positive masculinities and healthy partnerships,” she says.
The week will continue with sessions focused on Men and Mental Health, Substance Use and Misuse, HIV/AIDS and STI Prevention, and Professional and Career Development. The camp will culminate onSaturday July 7 with a hiking exercise to Carpenter’s Rock with Happy Height’s Hiking
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