Youth Advisory Council

What Is It?

Our Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is a group of 14– to 24–year-olds who provide intentional youth voice and presence. The YAC is critical to our work and its enthusiasm and commitment to our mission inspires us every day. YAC members partner and collaborate with Maine Boys to Men in pursuit of its mission and its program development and delivery. Many community organizations seek out the Youth Council for their fresh perspective and ask them for help to inform policies and programs. The Youth Council has made a documentary; trained Maine students and teachers; attended conferences; created a podcast; served on panels; convened speakers; and brought our youth violence prevention program to hundreds of students and adults. Our Youth Council changes the world.

If you are a young person who wants to learn more about masculinity, gender stereotypes, consent, upstander intervention, empathy, and communication, please fill out this Google form to get started. We would love to have you join us to create a positive impact in our community.

Listen to our youth podcast, The Youth Take, on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

What Are The Meetings Like?

We begin with funny check-ins to let us all connect. Then, we are always inspired by new learning related to gender, empathy, communication, or healthy relationships. We are encouraged to take what we’ve learned and share with other students, student groups, RSVP® clubs, etc. The rest of the meeting is project work—we always have an event or project we are working on. We close by reflecting on what we’ve learned and we answer another connecting question.

As Maine Boys to Men Youth Advisory Council Members, we are…

  • Valued for our contributions to our Maine community;
  • Meaningfully engaged in the topics of healthy masculinity and gender-based violence prevention;
  • Partners with adults in our community and within MBTM;
  • Engaging in dialogue and projects to improve our community;
  • Informed and inspired to make positive change;
  • Providing feedback for MB2M program direction and effectiveness;
  • Offered leadership training to become better leaders in gender-based violence prevention;
  • Ready to carry what we have learned to whatever communities we will be entering next.

Who Is It?

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Abbie (she/her)

Yarmouth High School, Class of 2022
All of the talk at my high school training about gender stereotypes and consent was eye opening because I haven't had many open discussions surrounding these topics until the Maine Boys to Men conference. Youth have a different experience now, compared to adults did when they were our age. Our world today is changing, growing, and learning more than it has in a while, and this time of our lives is a time for our generation to stand up and fight for what's right! In order to prevent violence in our culture we need kindness, empathy, understanding, equality, and open-mindedness.
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Aidan (he/him)

Maine Coast Waldorf School, Class of 2021
I believe that youth have value and add many positive things to society. I see myself as able to make a difference and that means something to me. Gender pressures are ubiquitous. That is not to say that all gender pressure is a bad thing, but it took being involved in MB2M to see the role that gender plays in our world. I am lucky enough to be able to live a life mostly devoid of crushing pressure to conform, but MB2M has given me the ability to empathize with those who do. Just because I am a youth doesn't mean I am not qualified to have opinions. Just because I am a man doesn't mean I haven't been wronged by gender roles. I value kindness above all and I believe that youth will impact change because they are awesome.

Aimable (he/him)

Pine Tree Academy, Class of 2021​
The good thing about Youth Council is you get a chance to express your ideas and it is also a positive community with creative ideas. This work is important to me because I want to play a role in making a better community. We are the next generation and our contribution to changing community really matters. To prevent violence in our community we need to value one another! Why do I have to be like someone else? I'm already who I am, so rather than spending my time trying to be like somebody else, I have to learn from my mistakes and make changes where it is needed, or come up with new strategies and keep developing so that I can be example and an influential person wherever I am!
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Ana (she/her)

Yarmouth High School, Class of 2022
My favorite thing about Youth Council is how accepting and kind everyone is. I just love all of the positive vibes! I haven't had much pressure with gender stereotypes, but I still have a few stories about them. My grandparents are very conservative. They believe the men should do all the work while the women cook and clean. My grandfather once said that I couldn't weed a whole garden bed because I was a girl. I took every nasty thing out of that garden bed! I am a part of several minority groups, and I just can't stand to see how much hate goes around just because we're "different." I would like to see adults listen to what youth are saying, and to adapt with the new world. I think having unbiased people serving the community has to be essential, otherwise everyone could be accused of something they didn't do.
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Dylan (she/her)

Waynflete, Class of 2021​
When I took the "Keeping It 100" training, I was so happy to see other young people concerned and dedicated to the same issues as me. Maine Boys to Men showed me that there are ways to make change and other young people who are excited to do it! Junior year, I was one of two female-identified students in my school's advanced science class. I rarely felt there was space for me to participate and often received surprised and unconsciously condescending praise when I succeeded. Part way through the year, I took a step back and realized that I had been pushing myself to prove I belonged, while keeping my voice and presence small. This was something I saw few of my male-identified classmates doing. I think education and dialogue are both ways that we can begin to prevent violence. Sharing our experiences and needs with other people can go a long way. Also letting people who are struggling know that there are people who want to support them.
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Eliana (she/her)

Scarborough High School, Class of 2021​
I have had two big "aha" moments with the Youth Council. The first was learning gender and sexuality are a spectrum, not a binary. This made me feel so validated in questioning my sexuality and allowed me to feel normal and not put so much pressure on myself to "make a decision" and label myself. My other biggest "aha" moment was learning about the gender "boxes" we're forced into and the language and attitudes society uses to police them. This discussion caused me to totally change the way I think about our language and attitudes. Maine Boys to Men has given me tools and language to interrupt the very beginnings of gender stereotypes and violent behaviors. This work also impacts my school and community and it is so important to me to try to make those places safer and happier for everyone.
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Grace (she/her)

Freeport High School, Class of 2020​
I am the president of my school's Reducing Sexism and Violence Program. I love having spaces to connect with like-minded people and to remind myself of my values and what I'm passionate about. Just because I'm a young person, doesn't mean I'm careless, can't care for the future, or can't understand how the world works. I am proud to be part of a new generation!
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Jared (he/him)

Yarmouth High School, Class of 2022​
The value of being involved in the Youth Council is that I can be a role model and give my input. Just because I am a young person doesn't mean I am immature, doesn't mean I am stupid, and doesn't mean I am ignorant. I am just still learning. I think what adults should know about my value as a young person is that we are the next generation that can make a change by learning from them.
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Jason (he/him)

Union College, Class of 2023​
I first got involved with Maine Boys to Men because I wanted to be informed of the ways I can personally limit gender-based violence in my community. My "aha" moment with MB2M came when I realized that there were a lot of aspects of my life that I could personally improve using their teachings. What I love about Maine Boys to Men is that they never tell you how to act, but rather give you the tools necessary to express yourself however you see appropriate to yourself and your situation. It's difficult to navigate the world no matter how you identify, and I find that Maine Boys to Men has not only helped me find my own way of approaching life, it has also made me more aware of the different approaches of those around me. I have improved immensely regarding leadership and self-confidence since I have been involved. I take great pride in my engagement with MB2M and believe that their philosophy now extends into nearly every aspect of my life.

Joe Les (he/him)

Freeport High School, Class of 2021​
I constantly see gender stereotyping and similar issues around me, and addressing these issues is important to me. The most common example of this is hearing my peers use problematic language like "fag" or "retard" as insults. To me, the value of being involved is knowing and seeing that we are creating change. This could be as small as people phasing out problematic insults. I think youth can impact change because they have the greatest influence on other young people. The more youth there are working towards a cause, the more other young people there will be in support of that cause. I think that community is important in preventing violence because if a community can manage to reach new people, more and more people will become a part of that community and the influence of the community will spread. I think this is more effective than just telling people what to do.
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Linguo (he/him)

Waynflete, Class of 2021
I really like the people in the Youth Council. Everyone is really nice and supportive. Diverse opinions and perspectives emerge while we have discussions, so it is a really productive place to learn. People respect each other even if we are disagreeing. I believe that youth not only have the ability to lead and make a difference in the world, but we will also contribute the most to the change of the world because we are more creative, energetic and adaptable. We are more open to new things, new people, and new connections, and these are the key components to impact changes in this globalization era. Just because I am a young person, doesn't mean I am naïve, reckless, or not thoughtful. Just because I am a male doesn't mean I am always powerful, always strong, or always a provider. I am a male who is not going to be restricted by stereotype.

Makayla (she/her)

Kennebunk High School, Class of 2021​
My favorite thing about Youth Council is the safe community and environment that it establishes. I'm able to be who I am and say what I want and know that I'm being acknowledged. I also love the people and the relationships that you develop within the Youth Council. I always know that everyone is there for the same reasons: to be the youth voice and make a change. This type of work is important to me because I want to see a change in our society and I want to see the youth voice make an impact. We can't do that unless we (the youth) educate and get others involved. I do know that this change takes time and doesn't just happen in a blink of an eye. But I also know that I want to be a part of it and be a part of that change. Every youth voice matters. Everything that a youth voice says should be valued and taken into consideration by adults. This is how change happens.
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Maggie (she/her)

Employed at Dana Hall School for Girls/Professional Horse Trainer​
I became involved with Maine Boys to Men because of my story of survival. From the first meeting I went to, I immediately felt flooded with support. Sitting in a room full of complete strangers, telling them my story, and each and every one of them made me feel as though we were not strangers and they had my back. MB2M has taught me such valuable things about multiple different aspects of life. I continue to be involved because I have watched Maine Boys to Men change lives. They are the most welcoming, non-judgmental, open-minded, and caring group of people. I feel honored to be a part of it. The value of this work to me is immeasurable. This work has helped me grow both within my own mind and my perspectives on life. I would encourage anyone to join our Youth Council, they will not regret it.
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Natalie (she/her)

Endicott College, Class of 2023​
I first got involved early on in high school, but I slowly became more involved as it became an outlet for me to share my own personal journey in an act to help others. I have both participated in and facilitated many trainings designed by MB2M and have had a new "aha!" moment each time. That said, I have found so much value in being involved in this work, whether it be self-discovery or helping others do the same. My hope for our community is that folks of all ages can understand the power of voice and that there is a place for all voices in this world. I firmly believe we, as a population, have a lot to learn from young people and Maine Boys to Men is a perfect resource to help young folks find their voice in order to do so. Just because I am a young person does not mean I am weak, does not mean I am unheard, does not mean I am less smart. I am experienced and eager to share my story in hopes of helping other survivors identify what they want their story to look like.
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Olivia (she/her)

Maine Coast Waldorf High School, Class of 2021​
When Maine Boys to Men came to my school for a training, I was struck by how much I learned about the human nature of youth based on the stereotypes of our society. I learned that nearly my entire school struggles with issues surrounding conformity and peer pressure. I was horrified by the amount of people experiencing low self-esteem issues, loneliness, and self-loathing. I figured that after my classmates were vulnerable with each other, we'd become more of a community and support and care would replace the anxiety and stress. That didn't occur. In fact, people quickly resumed life as usual and continued ignoring the struggles. I decided to join the Youth Council to become more informed on how to approach the toxicity of high school and attempt to do my part to cleanse the environment around me, for myself and other teens.
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Owen (he/him)

Maine Coast Waldorf High School, Class of 2021​
I love how everyone in Youth Council comes from different schools, towns, places and works together with a common goal, open to hearing everyone's opinions and helping those goals come to fruition. I think that it isn't just adults or children; that is too definite. If everyone honestly listened to other people's opinions, goals, or beliefs, we could progress incredibly. Maine Boys to Men is education, and in my opinion, if people know more about violence or harassment, they will notice things and make changes however small. And if we are able to start discussions, that will spur even more changes in the way people go about their lives. That's why I keep coming back to the Youth Council, because the more I know, the more I notice, and the more I can change.
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Pearl (she/her)

Maine Coast Waldorf High School, Class of 2021​
There was this really interesting mask exercise that Maine Boys to Men did at my school that really forced me to step in the shoes of the people around me and think about the greater community of my school and I quite liked that exercise. I really love working with wildlife in the form of falconry and wildlife rehabilitation, motorcycling, playing bass guitar and drumming, and as I'm bisexual a lot of people end up pinning me in a sort of "butch lesbian" stereotype. However, I can also be pretty shy and quiet and I love baking and more traditionally feminine occupations; sometimes people seem to find it really hard to recognize that I don't exist following the pattern they expect. As a teen girl, I've also faced a bit of stigma in my more traditionally masculine hobbies as well. Growing up female in today's society has left me with the strong impression that social change needs to happen. Youth are the lifeblood of society. We will be the next generation, and planting the seeds of change early on helps create a more lasting, long term impact and a more sustainable future.
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Sara (she/her)

Hofstra University, Class of 2023​
I got involved with Maine Boys to Men during my sophomore year at Scarborough High School in 2016. I attended my high school's first Maine Boys to Men training and after that started my school's Reducing Sexism and Violence Club; I began working as a student advocate, hosting screenings, panels, and training as well as getting involved with the Youth Council with MB2M. I am now a student at Hofstra University as a part of the class of 2023 and am advocating on my campus as a Fellow for Hofstra's Center for Civic Engagement. I hope to continue Maine Boys to Men's work in New York. I, most recently, have also begun working as a more formal volunteer for the organization.

Satchel (he/him)

Maine Coast Waldorf High School, Class of 2021​
Honestly, I came into my school's MB2M presentation and was skeptical. I certainly did not consider myself an activist, although I always believed in much of what MB2M does. Working with this group has made me more aware of issues and how I can help in even a moderate way. My involvement has taught me how to have an open and accepting mind. The Youth Council is a highlight of my week. The important issues that we discuss need more attention and resolution in the world. We don't know everything, and we certainly can't fix everything, but we do our best to inform ourselves and others of these issues and work toward solutions in our community. Just because I am a young person, that doesn't mean I am uninformed, incapable, or unable to create change.

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Brennan (he/him)
Scarborough High School, Class of 2022

Wes (he/him)
Maine Coast Waldorf School, Class of 2022

Seamus (he/him)
Maine Coast Waldorf School, Class of 2021

Ella (she/her)
Yarmouth High School, Class of 2022