Passport to Manhood chisels young boys into men
A quote from the book of Proverbs that says “as iron sharpens iron, so one person builds up another” is a motto for local Good Samaritan Justin Hill and his Passport to Manhood group.
Passport to Manhood, which has a little over 15 young men, ages 11-16, is a weekly group that’s sponsored by the Fredericksburg Boys and Girls Club. It offers boys the chance to learn about some of the responsibilities and opportunities that will exist later on in their lives.
Hill, who took over responsibilities of the group in February when asked by Advisory Council President Dixie Cope, says he enjoys the group because it lets him mold the young men.
“We’ve got to invest in our future and that’s our children and all we’ve got to do is hang out with them and guide them. They need guidance,” Hill said. “They want the attention, they just need someone to hang out with them and listen. Whenever we embed what it takes to be a great man or woman, all we’re doing is building great citizens because that’s what they’ll continue to do their entire lives.”
Some of the things that Hill teaches his ‘young grasshoppers’ include how to change a tire, how to camp, how to cook a meal ready to eat (MRE), how to two-step, how to tie knots and how to start a fire with flint and steel.
The skills taught are useful to the boys, some of whom may never get the opportunity to learn such things.
“It’s very important because a lot of these kids don’t have a father figure at home and it’s important for these boys to have a man to look up to and talk about guy stuff with,” Bianca Arias, club director for the Fredericksburg Boys and Girls Club, said. “It makes it easier for them to express themselves and he has a bond with them because he has given his time and experience to turning them into young men.”
The group only meets once a week on Wednesdays, but Arias said Hill makes a huge impact with the short exposure.
“The kids are always asking about Justin and seeing when he’s going to come and are excited for his activities. Even the younger boys who aren’t involved with the program are excited to see the things he teaches the boys,” Arias said. “Everyone’s just excited to learn from him, give him high-fives and spend time with him.”
Two-stepping, a simple and useful country dance, is one of the skills that Hill taught his group.
On a warm June afternoon, Hill patiently taught the boys the basics of the dance.
“Make sure you put your hand out when asking to dance, don’t just ask, you want to be inviting. Having your hand out helps ease them into dancing,” Hill said. “It’s really just all about having fun. Dancing is all about having fun. Make sure you guys are smiling because you’re having a good time.”
The boys start by dancing with one another, while being coached by Hill, before asking girls to dance.
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