Lessons Learned at Orenda Springs in August

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Eleven young men, with hearts racing and hands tightening their grip on ropes and harnesses that held them securely in place, recently reached new heights in team building, discipline and a deeper understanding of themselves and reliance on others, thanks to 100 Black Men of Syracuse. On a warm day in early August deep in the woods at Orenda Springs Experiential Learning Center in Marcellus, the middle and high school age students took on the challenges of completing the camp’s rope course – climbing, swinging, sometimes tumbling but in the end smiling triumphantly.

Mentees at Orenda Springs

“For most of the young men who come from neighborhoods far removed from the rich canopy of a large forest, it was their first time experiencing anything like this,” said Glenn Williams, who manages the 100 Black Men of Syracuse’s Manhood Training program and is chairman of the organization’s Mentoring Committee. “While it was an opportunity to have some fun and build camaraderie, we hope our mentees left the camp with memories and lessons learned they can build on far beyond the day.” Members of the 100 accompanied the youth to Orenda Springs and served as chaperones offering advice along the way.

“The 100 thanks the staff at Orenda Springs for leading our young men through the exercises and reinforcing the life skills our program teaches each time we come together,” Williams said.

The 100’s Manhood Training Program, which meets at 10 a.m. on alternating Saturdays at the South Side Innovation Center, 2610 So. Salina Street in Syracuse, is seeking to expand the program and is inviting other local middle and high school males to join. For more information, contact Glenn Williams at (315) 443-8749 or email him at 100bkmsyr@gmail.com.

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