Steve Harvey's Mentoring Weekend for Young Men: 'Raising Boys to Men'
June 21, 2010

For the second consecutive year, a group of 100 young men from across the country, made their way to Little Elm, Texas on Father’s Day weekend to participate in Steve Harvey’s Mentoring Weekend for Young Men. This 4 day, 3 night program is designed to teach and share the principles of manhood to young men to enable them to achieve their dreams and become better men who are emotionally, politically and economically strong. With seven kids of his own, including three boys, Harvey has always taken pride in being a great father figure. Understanding the importance of positive male influences in the lives of boys, Steve assembled a team of successful, influential role models to volunteer and help him inspire the leaders of tomorrow.

“God said I want you to take some boys and bring them out here, get them out of the city where they can think differently,” Harvey confesses from his 250- acre ranch, where he hosts the camp. “We created the Mentoring Program to have a place to bring young men to teach them the principles of manhood. If you want to be a man you got to start practicing now.”

Multiple sponsors contributed the cash and resources needed to make the weekend possible, American Airlines (travel), Choice Hotels International (lodging) State Farm Insurance (tents), Budget (transportation), US Army (drill sergeants), SoftSheen-Carson (barbershop), United States Tennis Association (tennis courts), Glory Foods (meal sponsor), Kentucky Fried Chicken, 21st Century Foundation, Ford Motor Company, AT&T, The Home Depot (do-it-yourself session), Outback Steakhouse (dinners), Kmart (gift bag items) and activities, which included physical fitness, paintball, fishing, tennis, golf, an airline tour and stimulating DJ sessions led by a variety of skilled speakers. “There's nothing special about anyone who has achieved,” explained Four-Star General, William “Kip” Ward of the United States Army. “It’s about how you apply what you have, how you take advantage of opportunities and how you use your skills, your talents (and) not making excuses.”

The young men participated in a variety of workshops from “What it takes to get into and stay in college,” “Looking good and feeling healthy” and “You can be me” panels. Nightly, Steve Harvey holds an all male Town Hall meetings, with his no hold bars approach on topics such as “Manhood 101” and “Roles and Requirements of Manhood.”

The advantage all of the mentees had coming in, is the hard work they put in prior to them showing up. Eligible participants had to be 13-18 years old, from a single female head of household who is enrolled as a student in grades 8-11 as of the date of submission as well as a legal resident of the 48 contiguous United States and Washington, DC.

“Each boy who was either nominated or self-nominated, had to complete an application and write an essay on why they would like to attend the Mentoring Weekend Program,” says Elisha Silvera, Executive Director of the Steve Harvey Foundation. “The most common things our young men expressed was the desire for guidance, direction and advice from “real” men. There is an extreme longing for a father figure in their lives.”

After four days of brotherly love, direction and fun in the sun several of the boy’s attitudes and behavior patterns noticeably changed for the better according to several parents, chaperones, mentors and mentees themselves. Experiencing Steve Harvey’s Mentoring Weekend for Young Men may not have solved every problem but, it did introduce a wide range of solutions. "Never in my life have I been in such a place where there's such a concentration of male role model,” states Jason, 16, from Ft. Worth, TX. “Good men, every one of them. It was pretty amazing to see cause where I'm from you don't see that sort of thing. Not too many males in your neighborhood that are good role models."

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