We are just weeks into the New Year and the holiday spirit has likely faded from most of our memories. Already with just weeks of 2018 past the political year is shaping up to be interesting. As I write, the Congress and POTUS have been unable to coalesce around a plan to fund the government to operate for another year. And so the madness continues.
That being said I am happy to report that there is a bright spot. The fundamentals of The Men’s Council are still quite good. The April 2017 NC Gathering of Men was both a financial and experiential success. Eighty-five (85) men registered to come and 81 were able to make it for the weekend. We were able to report a net gain of $2,540. That means that the Gathering reserve fund now stands at $6,000, which is the maximum amount that the Board agreed we would carry in the fund from year to year. Donations from generous participants also more than covered the $745 in scholarships we awarded so our Gathering scholarship fund increased from $2,856 to $3,045.
Planning for the 2018 NC Gathering of Men is well underway to again be conducted at Chestnut Ridge Camp and Retreat Center. The dates are April 20-22 and the theme this year is Power and Masculinity. New this year, there is a deadline for registration. You will need to have registered by midnight Sunday, April 15. There are two concurrent options for pre-Gathering sessions: Simon McCain – Dynamic Breathwork and John Shuford – The Power of Empathy. We hope you are planning to join us. To find out more and to register go to http://themenscouncil.org.
TMC’s philanthropic endeavor, Giving Back, completed its second full year of existence in 2017. We are happy to report that in 2017 through Giving Back, TMC was able to distribute $29,500 to seven different nonprofit organizations. You will find more information about Giving Back at our website. If you are considering the idea of making a donation to this effort there is a page with information about the Giving Back recipients that you may find of interest. We are proud of what we have accomplished thus far and invite others to help us make an even bigger impact in the future.
The Joshua Project, an organization with a long-standing relationship with TMC, continues to thrive under the able leadership of Rob Plaugher and some incredibly dedicated men who serve on their board. The purpose of JP is to provide an initiation to young men, ages 13 to 18, in an attempt to provide what our society does not: a clear, meaningful symbolic passage into adulthood and guidance on how to behave as men. Four times a year they provide opportunities for young men to get counter-messages to what society teaches them about the meaning of masculinity. The experience relies on the support of older men to create a safe container, but from my own experience of participation, the older men get as much out of these times as the young men. Given the current conversations generated by #MeToo and It Stops Now that are filling the media outlets with stories, no time for the work of Joshua Project could be more critical. We strongly encourage you to consider spending a weekend with these fine men. It is probably one of our best investments in the future health of both ourselves and the young men that JP is designed to serve. The list of upcoming weekends is available at JP’s website.
With profound gratitude for all our blessings,
President, The Men’s Council