Whether it’s not asking for directions, not going to the doctor or even skipping through directions when putting something together, in general men are less likely to seek help, as societal pressures point to it as a weakness in masculinity.
6:8 is trying to change that through a new fellowship group that focuses solely on men in the Sauk Prairie area.
Called Men’s Community, the group touts fellowship, resources and opportunities for personal growth the first Sunday of the month. According to 6:8 co-executive director John Ramthun, the group provides an opportunity for men to find a passion in life; something that makes them feel alive.
“I think basically at its core, this group is about building and strengthening relationships in community,” Ramthun said. “I think it is needed – especially for our time—where it is so easy to be isolating. We go to work and then go home and we can even grocery shop from our homes. We don’t have to interact as much as people did two generations ago.”
The idea for the group came in part from Bill Reay who volunteers for 6:8. “I started out with the new building helping with construction,” Reay said. “Then I started to attend some of the meals there. What I noticed was at most of the events, there weren’t a lot of men.”
Reay said he and Ramthun began discussing what opportunities there were for men in the community and how 6:8 could help. Men’s Community was created as a way to bring men of all backgrounds together from the community to share a meal, talk, listen to a speaker focused solely on men’s health needs and interests.
Ramthun said men tend to naturally be more independent and feel the need to do things on their own.
“We need more excuses, reasons to find ways or outlets to come together,” Ramthun said. “We need more opportunities to share with one another and talk about our struggles.”
Reay said the idea is for men to have the chance to network and help each other out when possible.
So far Men’s Community has met twice and each meeting had more than 20 participants. The event starts with testimony where participants have the opportunity to share their personal stories and backgrounds. An invited speaker will deliver a presentation on a predetermined topic; so far Men’s Community has several speakers in the healthcare industry and a few paraprofessionals lined up.
The meal is prepared by Green Acres chefs; Troy Takyz has volunteered to do some of the cooking. Following the meeting, anyone needing to use the food pantry will be given the chance to do so.
“We decided to try this as a six month experiment,” Reay said. “We are hoping this gains momentum and after six months we can continue. We are asking for feedback after every meeting and fine-tuning as we go.”
“I’ve met some really cool men from the community so far,” Ramthun said. “We’ve had some top notch experts to talk to us. It’s been great seeing everyone coming, not only to receive – but also jump in and be involved.”