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'Boys to Men' mentor program kicks off at Adventure Mountain

Boys to Men' exists to build communities of male role models who, through consistent group mentoring, encourage and empower teenage boys to follow their dreams.

SAN DIEGO — As an Ambassador for Boys to Men Mentoring, you've heard CBS 8's Shawn Styles talk about the 100 Wave Challenge dozens of times at Mission Beach. The funds they raised from that event allowed them to take those boys to Legacy Ranch on Palomar Mountain.

A weekend on Adventure Mountain is designed to give the boys the freedom to open up and express themselves.

"What is it about Legacy Ranch that you love about it? Legacy Ranch has changed my life. These emotional weekends have changed my perspective cause now I feel I can save people with my words and hands. We're not around people that are going to judge us. It's being free, being yourself, and you don't use a mask to protect yourself," said Gabriel Torres, who joined Boys to Men 3 years ago and has been to Legacy Ranch.

"For the boys to see this a sacred ceremonial space, to be real and share themselves authentically," said Franco Saavezra, director of the Boys to Men Program Director.

"When they come in, we stop the drums, start talking about our truths and give an invitation to the safe space to talk the truth of them," Saavezra said.

Gabriel said the weekend is meant to give the boys a space to open up.

"It was like releasing all my anger, releasing all my sadness, releasing all my frustration.

Franco believes it's about letting go through expression and taking what's positive.

"The weekend builds courage for them to return to their lives and incorporate much of what they have learned.

For Gabriel and boys like him, this is a space where boys can learn to be Men.

"Boys to Men is a safe space for everybody. They will never be judged or bullied; it is for them to get the respect others don't give them." 

And as Gabriel said, the experience on Palomar Mountain allows him to express to himself and others that they are not alone.

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