Sunday, December 28, 2003

Boys camp at school, learn from mentors



By Denise Smith Amos
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MOUNT AUBURN - Hours after Vine Elementary dismissed classes Dec. 19, parents drove into its snow-slicked parking lot and dropped off their sons at the open school.

The children - about 50 boys in the fourth to eighth grades - were led into the gym and told to sit in a square.

Interspersed were a dozen men. Some in traditional African garb; others in business attire or overalls.

A few of the men stood, one by one, and spoke about manhood and adult responsibility.

Earnest McAdams, a city of Cincinnati prosecutor, urged the boys not to rely on the usual measures of a man.

"Success isn't the kind of money I make, the car I drive or where I live. It's not that I'm a lawyer," he said.

"Know what's going to be success for me? When I die, if somebody is going to say, 'He was a good man ... He took care of his family.'

"It's not the title you got; it's what you do ... You've got all the title you're ever going to need - man."

That's how the first sleepover for boys began at Vine Elementary.

Schools with challenges

Vine is a Cincinnati public school with challenges. Drawing students from Over-the-Rhine and Mt. Auburn, it teaches mostly African-American children, many from poor, single-parent homes. It's in a high-crime neighborhood.

The school recently underwent a mandatory "redesign" because of poor performance on state tests, switching all its teachers, administrators and curriculum.

The Vine Male Coalition, a year-old group of fathers and mentors who meet weekly at the school, was one of the few things that remained. They organized the all-night event, called the Young Men's Summit, for boys to camp indoors and get to know some male role models better.

"Young men need guidance from males to demonstrate what qualities it takes to be a man," says Tyrone Hall, a coalition leaders and coordinator of the summit.

Hall is a consultant with Ohio Family and Children First Council, a statewide coalition of social service agencies working with schools and families.

Hall said the event was so successful, he plans to take it to other Cincinnati schools.

E-mail damos@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
Is it possible to fix a traffic mess?
Pros and cons of medians in roadways
Bengals' attire selling like crazy
Road work adds to neighbors' worries

IN THE TRISTATE
Dilly Deli adds wine cellar, dining space
Fernbank Park a priority
Foster children 'make my heart bigger every time'
Ohio's 512th won't miss war
News Briefs
Boys camp at school, learn from mentors
Neighbors briefs
Ohio moments
Police check schools for shooting link
Tristate Briefs
Winter warm-up brings people outdoors for fun

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Bronson: Some ordinary people change our lives, city
Radel: Small-town mayors show Democrats can win here, too
Good Things Happening
Crowley: Several submit candidacy for statehouse elections

KENTUCKY STORIES
Redwood planning expansion