Yellowknife non-profit FOXY is opening up to boys – and it needs some male advice.
Since 2012, FOXY has used the arts to teach girls in the North about sexuality, sexual health and relationships.
Now, having won the $1 million Arctic Inspiration Prize in December, the group plans to launch a similar program for boys.
But first, FOXY needs to figure out what boys need that might be different – and what to avoid.
Nancy MacNeill, FOXY’s project coordinator, is preparing focus groups to find out what northern men think could have helped, or didn’t work, when they were growing up.
“The focus groups will be about talking to young men about their experiences, what their opinions are and how we should approach this project,” MacNeill told Moose FM.
“One thing I’m really looking forward to is hearing from young men about the realities of their sexual health education. When we talk to young women about it, we always hear about young men goofing off and that kind of thing.
“I think there’s a lot of information behind that. If they were one of the guys goofing off and laughing, why were they feeling that awkward?”
Since 2012, FOXY has staged more than 40 youth workshops in more than 20 communities across the Northwest Territories.
However, the programs have, to date, always been for girls – to the extent that no man has yet seen a full workshop, let alone been helped by the organization.
Male volunteers who help out with this year’s focus groups will be going where no man has gone before.
“Part of the project development is going to be inviting men to see what a FOXY workshop might look like,” said MacNeill.
“They’ll get a chance to see what FOXY actually does and give us some ideas on how we might be able to take that approach and make it really relevant to northern men.”
If you’re a male artist based in the North or have experience working with groups of boys, FOXY also wants to hear from you.
Dates aren’t in place yet but if you are interested in helping out, head to FOXY’s website for contact details.
“One of the things we’ll also be doing is coming up with a better name than ‘FOXY for boys’,” added MacNeill.
“My goodness, we can do better than that.”