Information About Existing Davis Men's Groups
We gathered some basic information from existing men's groups in the Davis area in order to give an idea of what men's groups are about and what the members gain from participation.
ManKind Project (MKP) Integration Groups
When formed: 2003 (in Davis, MKP was formed in 1986)
How frequent do you meet?: We have two iGroups in Davis that meet on Monday nights and one iGroup that splits its time between Vacaville and Davis that meets on Tuesday nights.
Brief description of group: We are about celebrating masculinity; we are about teaching integrity and accountability. We are about laughter and tears. We are about the pleasures of sonhood, fatherhood, brotherhood, and even cousinhood. We are certainly about friendship. We dare you and challenge you and bless you to come into our space and play with us. We are about the joy of being a man. We are men of all backgrounds and "presentgrounds."
Imagine a circle where every one listens, not only to what you say, but to also what's behind that. Everyone is in tune with your voice, your emotion, your energy-everyone is intent on receiving everything you communicate; where everyone listens to hear the very best in you, even when you can't hear it in yourself. Imagine a circle which will remind you of your commitments so you can hold yourself accountable and keep you moving forward toward your dreams and goals. Imagine a circle of men which is totally curious about your dreams and aspirations, about what it is that makes you tick, what you value, what you are most passionate about in you life; a circle that will help clarify your goals and provide tools for action and learning that lead you to the life you want. Imagine a circle of men who would absolutely tell you the whole truth about where you are strong, where you sell yourself short, and where someone knows you can handle it and knows that's what you want. Imagine an experience where you finally break free of those limiting beliefs that sabotage and they are noticed for what they are and the powerful part of you is called forth with a new set of beliefs. Imagine a circle where you can experience and develop a new leader within you. A place that is safe to be who you really want to be.
This is our group. Are you ready for this kind of relationship?
What draws your group together and makes it a valuable experience?: Our love and common bond of the sacred masculine. We are men and we honor that. We honor our place and our power in being men. We honor our fears and pain in being men. We honor our pains and joys. We have all participated in the challenge of the MKP New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA). Participation is mandatory for men to remain seated in our circle. Visit the websites at: National ManKind Project or Northern California ManKind Project for more information.
Typical activities and events: We have weekly or bi-weekly meetings where ritual and sacred space is contained. We enjoy performing community service and service within the ManKind Project. We have group retreats at least once a year. We meet outside our group as friends, brothers, elders, and families. Many of us are can be found on Saturdays at Farmer's Market sharing our morning with each other.
Process for adding new members: We encourage new men to sit in our circles; to see what it looks like to be heard, honored, loved, and challenged. Each group handles guest and new men differently. Men who make the choice to stay, to sit in our circles, are asked to commit to the NWTA.
Contact: Randall Larson-Maynard via email: (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call: 530.753.6593
When formed: 1996
How frequent do you meet?: Twice a month formally, more often informally.
Brief description of group:We are five men with three members from the original group and two members who joined this past year. We are a veterinarian, elementary school teacher, business owner, physician, and commercial pilot. We are 45 to 55 years of age. Two men are married and three are divorced. All of us have children that are 6 to 32 years old.
What draws your group together and makes it a valuable experience?: We have created a safe place where we can share anything of a personal nature with men we would entrust with our lives. We share laughter and tears, victory and setbacks. We are heard without judgment and supported without reservation. The value of the group is the stability of the commitment we have for each other.
Typical activities and events: Twice monthly meetings that last about two hours. These are the formal meetings. We all "check in" for about 15 minutes each, then have an open discussion for the remaining time. Occasionally we have structured activities such as writing, painting, mask making, etc. Informally our activities are too numerous to name them all. We have taken weekend retreats to Lake Tahoe, had dinners out, brewed beer, gone bowling and to movies, met for coffee and quick lunch, had spontaneous gatherings for numerous reasons, gone backpacking, helped each other with home projects, and much more. We never include spouses or significant others. Our current fixed events are our annual Holiday Party/ Reunion for all Omboys past and present. This year we had it at the Buckhom and had one old member show up from out of town. Our philosophy on membership is "once an Omboy, always an Omboy". Our other fixed event is each Omboy's birthday breakfast. We honor the birthday boy with the breakfast of his choice at Bakers Square sharply at 7 A.M. Our contact with each other is what makes this work. Work is what makes the contact. We all make a conscious effort to that end.
Process for adding new members: When an opening exists ( five committed members we find a good number) we let the other groups know we have an opening. It is important to us that a new member take the first step in contact. We invite the person to a meeting and let the person decide if we are a group he would want to belong to. If the person accepts the group, we make a mutual decision to accept.
Name: This was the name of a 5th grade basketball team of one of the members. We all hated the name, but once it was out there, it stuck.
When formed: August 1990. Actually we are not sure what "form" means, so we are certain that we must not be there yet. One of the guys suggested starting the group because he didn't know if he knew men willing to bury him. Now he has just enough who want to.
How frequent do you meet? Every 2 weeks or less. When we started we met once a month.
Brief description of group: Six members currently. One is a 75 yr old colored blues guitar player, who goes by the name of "Slo Mo". One is known as "Thicky" or "Thick Skull" for his lack of common sense during the elementary school years. One is known as the "Runt of the Litter"'. One guy defies description, except for "Turtle". One is known as "Knot Head", "Buddha Head", "Camel" and occasionally "Vince". One is known as the "Man with No Name", so we call him "Billy Bob".
What draws your group together and makes it a valuable experience? Turtle said "We are a group of men with good intentions, but that's all. We have no follow through, so we never do anything." Originally we discussed themes, such as being sons, fathers and men. Now we enjoy the misery of each others suffering. Runt enjoys watching the rest of us age. Thicky want someone as intelligent as himself to have an serious conversation. When Turtle was asked what was meaningful about the group, he asked: "What's the next question?" Buddha Head said his father always called him "Vince". We reminded him that was the right answer to the wrong question.
Typical activities and events: We don't have any typical activities as we are only a group with "good intentions". Mostly we drink beer, sit around "noshing", and talk about the latest Robert Altman film. Originally we met at the Putah Creek fire pit. We have an annual failed camping trip and our annual winter snow trip, that has yet to happen. Once we played Vodka Ping Pong that included a Chinese fire drill. Unfortunately no one really remembers much of that night. We occasionally play billiards and attend music concerts. Guess which member enjoys the meeting when one of the group has an injury? Most of us recall the time Runt pushed Turtle into Billy Bob's hot tub and broke his rib. We also have the bi-annual bowling tournament where Billy Bob raises above his innate bowling deficit. For many years the group tired of hearing how Runt wasn't having any sex. Now we are tired of hearing that he is.
Process for adding new members: We would seriously question anyone's judgment who would want to join our group.
Davis Jewish Men's Group.
When formed: May 1999.
How frequent do you meet? 2 times per month for 2 hour meetings.
Brief description of group: We are a Jewish men's group, made up of 7 men, ages 43 - 65, both single & married. We gather together to discuss topics ranging from personal development, to our struggles as individuals, our experiences as Jews, and out participation as members of the community. We plan to grow old together.
What draws your group together and makes it a valuable experience? Our group is a safe environment in which to open up & express our feelings and concerns in a non-judgmental forum & receive non-judgmental support. Our participation is voluntary, and confidentiality is a central value. We believe men talk about themselves as they are ready. Members receive group support, and benefit from the group's collective wisdom, thus benefiting their mental health. Our well being is cared about. We gain from witnessing each other's important struggles, including our passages and life transitions.
Typical activities and events: Our only activity is to meet twice monthly coupled with an annual weekend retreat. There is an understanding that individual friendships can grow outside of the group.
Process for adding new members: Personal recommendations, followed by the applicant being invited out to lunch by one or two group members. A primary concern is that the applicant understand the group's need for safety and the group's vision fit with the appficant's personal goals.
Just "men's group"
Name: (When we started, there weren't any others.)
When formed: Early 1970's sometime.
How frequent do you meet? 1st and 3rd Wednesday evenings.
Brief description of group: Our membership remains fairly steady, with many of us having belonged for 20 or 30 years or more. We now have nine members, and are mostly in our 70's.
What draws your group together and makes it a valuable experience? Our stated purpose, I suppose, (we don't state it much) is to support each other, which includes sociability and friendship as well as occasional listening in depth.
Typical activities and events: At a regular meeting, we talk for a while and then go around the room with each person "checking in." This past year, we took turns each spending an entire evening telling our life story. Once or twice a year, we spend a weekend at someone's cabin - beach or mountains. Those longer times together have turned out to be important; at least, most of us make an effort to go.
Process for adding new members: Over time, when our number has dropped to 7 or 8 or so, we have invited others to join--usually a friend of one or more of us. At the moment, the number seems about right so that everybody gets a chance to talk, etc. Our losses have.been primarily because someone moved away or died.
New-man Men's Group
When formed: 1990
How frequent do you meet? Every other week
Brief description of group: We are a small (-12) group of Christian men, seeking our identities, roles and goals in this challenging age. We also work to build community and support, among ourselves and with others.
What draws your group together and makes it a valuable experience? We believe that sharing our journeys as men and providing each other support makes the journey more satisfying and effective.
Typical activities and events: Our group selects books of interest to men's issues. We read them a chapter at a time for our every-other-week meeting. Group members take turns starting the discussions of the chapters. Then, each group member offers his response to the chapter. The readings serve as a jumping-off point for sharing our life journeys. We also have occasional retreats around certain themes.
Process for adding new members: We advertise our meetings to the Newman Center Community. We can always add a couple of new members.
When formed: Fall 1997
How frequent do you meet? Every other week, previously once a week.
Brief description of group: Our group currently numbers 5 men ages 27 - 60 from varied socio-ecomomioc backgrounds. We get together, we talk aboout things that are importand in our lives. And we listen to each other.
What draws your group together and makes it a valuable experience? We are men. Support, support. Feels good.
Typical activities and events: Bullshit and ritual. Individual check-in time. Occasional social get togethers with significant others. Very occasional outings.
Process for adding new members: Men meet with the potential new member and then talk to the group. After this, we invite the potential new member to come check out the group.