Everyone knows growing up is difficult. Boys and girls encounter many similar issues when going through adolescence, but at the same time, the two genders can have very different experiences.
For the fifth year, The Center for Gender Equity, CGE, at Pacific University will be hosting “It’s a Guys Thing” on May 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Young males ages 12-15, mainly from the Forest Grove school district, are invited on campus to interact with both undergraduate males from the CGE and graduate males from The School of Professional Psychology in Hillsboro.
“We really let the men on the CGE staff plan it because there are some different kinds of energy between men and women, particularly at this age,” Director for the CGE Martha Rampton said. “It’s something for boys that’s not about sports and I think that’s pretty important. We want to realize that there’s a lot of dimensions to being a boy.”
Junior Kevin Alfaro-Martinez, the current committee leader recalled how enthusiastic the kids were to learn about college life last year.
“Everybody was so eager to ask questions,” Alfaro-Martinez said. “My favorite part is answering questions because growing up, I never had an opportunity to attend an event like this.”
A question and answer panel with Pacific’s own undergraduates will be held to talk about why they went to college, the challenges that come with it, and what it’s like growing up as a guy.
This along with other activities such as a support group lead by graduate volunteers from the psychology school and a tour around campus will be given to provide these boys with an insight as to what it’s like living on a college campus.
Sociology Professor Adam Rafalovich will also be sitting down with parents to talk about issues confronting young boys in society today.
“Since I am a medical sociologist, I focus a lot of attention on how disruptive boys are often placed into medical categories and often medicated,” Rafalovich said. “I also talk a lot about my own experiences of being a disruptive boy and the struggles I went through in public school, what types of interventions in my life were effective, and which were not.”
Rafalovich as well as Rampton agree that the goal of this event is to give these boys an opportunity to talk about issues important to them.
“We do hope that they come away from this with the sense that there’s a lot of different ways to be male in our society,” Rampton said. “Also as boys growing into men there are gender challenges that go with it.”
For Alfaro-Martinez, it brings him joy knowing that he is able to influence the kids in a positive way.
He hopes that after this event, the kids will be able to make educated choices from the experiences they have learned about.
“Hopefully they will tell their friends and will want to attend next year,” Alfaro-Martinez said. “The goal is to reach out to as many of those who are in need. I would like the kids to see me and my team as role models [who have helped] shape their future.”