LEBANON — Middle-school boys in the Lebanon Community School District are invited to a one-day conference this month on college life for young men, presented by Pacific University of Forest Grove.
The event will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at Oregon State University’s Memorial Union.
“It’s a Guy Thing” is a one-day conference being put on through collaboration between Lebanon schools and Pacific University’s Center for Gender Equity. The program will provide participants with an opportunity to discuss among themselves challenges they face as boys moving from childhood to adolescence, and to obtain a positive association with college as a goal worth working toward.
Discussions will occur in small breakout groups, facilitated by male students in Pacific University’s School of Professional Psychology. The day also will include a panel discussion in which current undergraduate college males share perspectives about life in college, as well as tours of some of the facilities at OSU.
Transportation and meals will be provided. In addition to the school district and Pacific University, sponsors include SELCO Community Credit Union, Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, Wilbur-Ellis and the Oregon Dairy Council.
Brian O’Driscoll, director of career development and a board member of the Center for Gender Equity at Pacific University, is organizing the event.
Its chief goals: safe and healthy discussion of issues of importance to boys; encouragement of open dialogue about and reflection on perceptions and attitudes about what it means to be “a guy” and how those ideas shape experiences; exposure to diverse ideas and insights about the challenges, opportunities and experiences of being a young male navigating his way through life; exposure to positive role modeling by college students; and a fun experience among peers on a college campus.
“This conference has happened in Forest Grove as a service to the Forest Grove School District for a couple of years,” O’Driscoll said, “and it was my idea to see if Pacific could extend the geographic reach of its community service-oriented mission to serve a really important need in a small town not so close to a four-year undergraduate institution.”
Pacific offers a similar event for girls, called “Girls Today,” on the Forest Grove campus, he said.
“Since the need is not unique to Lebanon, it’s my hope to help export this program model to other communities,” O’Driscoll said. He said he’d welcome calls from other K-12 educators interested in developing similar programs.
Lebanon teachers and administrators are referring potential participants.