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Today at 13:39

New outlook

By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
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Cameron Taylor is walking away from the fourth annual Boys Conference with a new outlook on life.

"I don't think I'll really look at anything the same," said the Grade 7 Agnew H. Johnston Public School student.

Cameron was one of about 70 male Grade 6,7 and 8 students participating in the annual conference at the Prince Arthur Hotel Wednesday.

The Boys Conference teaches the students about gender issues and domestic violence and how to be positive male role models.

Cameron said he learned about messages in the media and about the issues going on in the world like abuse towards women and how women should be treated as equals.

"It's important to learn about what's going on in the world right now so you can look at a thing and say that's not OK," he said.

The conference was funded by the Lakehead Elementary Teachers of Ontario and the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario and hosted in partnership with the Catholic Family Development Centre, White Ribbon campaign and Lakehead Public Schools.

LEO vice president Blake Pennycook said they focus on boys in that age range because it's where they believe they can affect the most change - before they become adolescents and move into leadership positions in their schools.

"When we're looking at issues of gender violence and domestic violence, nine out of 10 cases occur with men," said Pennycook.

"If we can talk to men and give them - boys who will be men - give them the skills and tools they need growing up, I feel we can affect a strong message with these kids," he added.

Not only were students looking at decoding messages in media, including movies and music videos, but they were also learning stress management skills and what it means to be a male role model, not just by being tough, but by being strong in character and personality.

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