We continue to pilot and hone our after school clubs program in a small number of middle schools in San Jose, California in the 2017-17 school year.

Our program is designed for boys ages 11-15 (grades 6-8) and requires one adult facilitator from your community for every 15 boys who participate.

Boys work together with their adult facilitator to create a safe environment in which they explore issues around manhood, identity, character, and success while challenging each other to be their best.

Sessions are designed to last 60 to 90 minutes and align with the Collaborative for Social & Emotional Learning’s (CASEL) core SEL Competencies.

Resources and support are available for interspersing sessions with community service and fundraising projects.

Sessions follow a predictable routine:

  1. Structured check-in
  2. Video intro
  3. Guided discussion
  4. Weekly Challenge
  5. Shout-outs and pledges of support.

**(COMING SOON) - Each club creates a custom, secure page on the YMN website that allows for ongoing discussion between sessions as well as interaction with club members across the YMN network.

**(COMING SOON) - Adult facilitators receive in-person training and ongoing, direct access to YMN experts through a private online discussion forum.

Read more about the curriculum below:


  • Managing EmotionsWhy do I get angry sometimes?
  • Clarifying Identity - How do I know what's right?
  • Finding Purpose - What's my reaction to issues/problems in the world?

Character Strengths

We always come back to the Five Essential Strengths but we'll focus on the following in more detail:

  1. Compassion For Others
  2. Courage Toward Peers
  3. Self-Discipline


The basic list of things to agree upon before the program begins. Each individual school group can add to this list as they see fit.

  1. No ego. - This isn't about competition or hierarchy, just brotherhood.
  2. No shame. - No need to feel ashamed or make another member feel ashamed. It's the quickest way to create anger in others and yourself.
  3. Compassion first. - Every interaction should come from a place of remembering our shared human experience.
  4. Encourage excellence.Compassionately push your fellow members to open up, face their problems, and have the courage to grow.
  5. Speak your anger; don’t act on it. - If you're angry, it's probably because underneath you're sad, scared or ashamed. Talk about that rather than lashing out.
  6. Try to explain what makes you sad. - Although it's hard, talking this out will lead to growth and a shared bond between those who hear you.

Topic Progression:

  1. What Does Success Look Like To You?
  2. Boys in Crisis? Stats, Trends, and (Supposedly) Dire Predictions
  3. The Big Four: School, Male Friends, Girls, Parents
  4. Compassion: Why It's Essential & How To Cultivate It
  5. Compassion’s Connection to Fulfillment
  6. Freedom In a World That Doesn’t Trust You (Yet)
  7. Parents: You Can't Choose Them, So Now What
  8. School: What To Do When You May Not Like It
  9. How Do I Know What's Right? Intro to Morality With Smith, Kant, & Rawls
  10. Self-Control & Managing Anger
  11. Male Friendship: Precious, Essential, but Problematic
  12. Romantic Relationships: Managing Emotions When "Nice Guys Finish Last"
  13. Habits, Hobbies, & Managing Time
  14. Uncovering & Cultivating True Strengths
  15. Purpose & The Meaningful Life

If you're interested in staying informed as this program expands, enter your email address below!

Get updates on the YMN Clubs project

We'll keep you updated as we continue to roll out to more schools and communities across North America.

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