AN ORGANISATION that aims to improve the lives of young men is hoping to extend its reach by having a presence in Leeton and the wider MIA.
Boys to the Bush held an information session in Leeton last week with community members, stakeholders and service providers to give them an idea of who they are and what they do.
Boys to the Bush has a simple mission - to provide an environment for disengaged boys who can be free from the distractions in their lives, allowing them the opportunity to be surrounded by positive influences and giving them opportunities to succeed.
The organisation encourages mateship, resilience and a sense of belonging.
It does this through mentor programs, camps and other initiatives, but all with the collective goal of helping young boys become better men in the future.
Its co-founder and chief executive officer is Adam DeMamiel, a Leeton born resident, who is hoping to bring the organisation's work to the area to help boys here.
Boys to the Bush employs several staff members, including familiar faces to Leeton - Dean Whymark and Coopa Steele.
"We're here to inform people about who we are and what we do," Mr DeMamiel said.
"We've got strong ties to the area. We have supported kids from this area in the past. We're hoping to potentially extend our reach in this area.
"We're based in Albury, but we are also set up in Forbes and Bathurst, so we're hoping to use the models we have created there to go out into more of NSW and possibly Victoria.
"We are a charity, so in order to set up in a community we do need support, so that's what we are here to talk about today."
Boys to the Bush aims to give these budding men a chance to become "good blokes" in the years ahead.
"It's a simple message and it's one that resonates with a lot of people," Mr DeMamiel said.
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"Where we are different is we strip everything back and it's more about spending time with these kids.
"The kids that we are seeing are predominantly those who are in care outside of their home, those who are homeless, those with mental health problems or who have been submitted to all kinds of traumatic things in their young lives.
"Ninety-five per cent of the kids we have worked with in recent years have no male role model at home.
"It is open to anyone, but that's the clientele we have been getting."
Boys to the Bush started out running camps for these young people, but in the last 12 months began mentoring programs.
As part of this there are now around 10 staff members from Boys to the Bush whose main job is to spend time with the participants and then link them up with the community.
"We don't proclaim to have all the answers or to be able to teach them everything, but we are the conduit to getting the kid in front of the people they need to be in front of," Mr DeMamiel said.
"So, if they need counselling, we can arrange it.
"There's a lot of important issues we're addressing with them so they can grow into better adults in the future.
"Our main strength is engaging with the kids."
If you would like to find out more about the organisation or even donate to the cause visit www.boystothebush.org.au.
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