Mainely Men 85 — Spring 2024

The MM85 gathering will be held
May 17–19, 2024

What to expect at Mainely Men Gatherings

Scroll down for what will become complete workshop information, the workshop schedule, weather, and the weekend’s menu*!

*A note about food: Hearty meals are prepared by Pilgrim Lodge staff. When you register, indicate whether you have vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or other special dietary needs, and we will try to accommodate.

The theme of MM85 will be Healthy Masculinity

We will discuss how to define healthy masculinity for ourselves. We will also explore traditional ideas of masculinity centered around entitlement and power-based relationships, how we might be contributing to these dynamics in ways we may not even realize, and how we can move toward finding joy in mentoring and stewardship.

Workshop information will be added as it becomes available. But for now, . . .

Let us introduce our pinkies, Keith and Walter!

Pinkies essentially run the weekend. They develop the theme, conduct opening and closing ceremonies, and are the main go-to folks for anything you might need while at a gathering. Pinkies are the faces and vibe of the weekend. Pinkies change with each gathering, and for MM85 we are fortunate to have this artistic duo, Keith and Walter!

A little about Keith and Walter:

Keith: Keith Prairie has been involved in the men’s movement since 1985, participating in men-centered weekends. Professionally, he has filled the roles of carpenter, human service worker, and computer technician. Retired from the daily grind, Keith remains active as a musician, playing and teaching the hammered dulcimer and singing professionally. You can find details about Keith’s musical life at his website https://prairie-music.com/.

 

Walter: Walter Spencer has had many jobs over the years, but working both with homeless men in recovery and dads dealing with family homelessness are what sparked an interest in his serious investigation into men’s growth and development and the topic of healthy masculinity. He has been active in several men’s gatherings and finds inspiration and serenity in this work. Walter is also a talented artist/painter.

 

 

 

A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.
– Muhammad Ali

Workshops

Workshops are led by registered participants with skills and ideas to share and give men a chance to learn in an open and safe environment. Topics have included photography, poetry, line dancing, yoga, body acceptance, sex, and health and wellness. See more at the links on our Upcoming and Past Gatherings page.

Workshops that relate directly to the theme of Healthy Masculinity will include

  • Moving away from Toxic Masculinity – We’ve all heard of toxic masculinity, but what does this mean? This workshop will be an opportunity for us to define healthy masculinity for ourselves through open discussion among peers. We’ll also explore ways to avoid the traps we find ourselves in that move us away from expressions of healthy masculinity.
  • Healthy Masculinity and Male Friendship – A recent report by the U.S. Surgeon General claims that feeling lonely increases the risk of stroke or heart disease by 30 percent, and the odds of developing dementia grow by 50 percent. Men whose only friendships are activity-based (think golf or hobbies) are less oriented toward providing emotional support and more toward enjoying common activities. These friendships are likely to be superficial and devoid of any vulnerability or emotional connection. In this workshop, we will explore male friendships and how emotional illiteracy may be harmful to our well-being.
  • Elderhood, Mentoring, and Stewardship – As we move into the last quarter or third of our lives, there is desire to leave a legacy of some sort. We will examine this process with a look at how we are passing our wisdom on through teaching, mentoring, and being around and available to younger people. We will talk about how we perceive ourselves as elders and who the elders are who gave us inspiration. We will talk about what stewardship means to us and if there are ways we wish to increase that sense of stewardship, give each other help finding support, and ask for help in the process.

Additional workshops include

  • Aging With Dignity, Independence, and Health – Join us for an engaging workshop designed specifically for elderly men. This will be a safe space to explore the unique challenges and experiences that come with aging. Led by experienced facilitators, this workshop aims to foster open dialogue and meaningful discussions about topics such as health, changes in relationships, coping with loss, maintaining mental well-being, and finding purpose in later life. Through interactive activities and group discussions, participants will have the opportunity to share their insights and gain valuable strategies for navigating the journey of aging with grace and resilience. Don’t miss this empowering opportunity to connect with peers, gain perspective, and discover new ways to thrive in your golden years. Facilitators Rudy and Steve will share from their own wisdom and experience and are both members of the Mainely Men board of directors. 
  • Bowing Prostrate to the Prostate: Showing Respect for an Underappreciated Gland – This workshop on prostate health and diseases will help empower men with knowledge about maintaining prostate wellness and recognizing early signs of potential issues. From understanding screening methods to lifestyle modifications for prevention, attendees will gain actionable insights to manage their prostate health. Engage in open discussion, ask questions, and dispel myths surrounding prostate health in a supportive environment. Whether you’re seeking preventive measures or managing a cancer diagnosis, this workshop will equip you with the tools for informed decision-making and proactive care. Facilitator Jon Henry leads the Men’s Cancer Network group at the Bangor YMCA and is a three-time survivor of prostate cancer.
  • The Chinese Language – Yes, it’s hard but not impossible – Obviously, it’s not possible to learn Chinese in an hour-long workshop, but you sure can learn a lot about it. In this workshop, you’ll learn about its challenging pronunciation and incredible writing system, and how relatively easy its grammar and sentence structure are. You’ll also learn a lot about China’s 5,000 years of history and culture. I’ll be teaching you some basic conversational phrases, including how to order your favorite dishes from a Chinese restaurant. So, c’mon and take the plunge! Facilitator Wayne is fluent in several languages and has run his own school for language education. 
  • The Legacy of Abuse – Abuse can be visited upon us in many forms: by action – physical, sexual, verbal – and inaction – by withholding physical and emotional needs. How has our dealing with this dreadful “visitation” informed our lives and interactions, and how have we been helped by others in the journey from victim to survivor? Throughout the confusion and uncertainty, three things are true: we are not to blame, we cannot successfully make the journey alone, and bringing our story into the light of day helps us heal. Facilitator Tim is not a therapist but has been struggling mightily with having been emotionally and sexually abused. His aim is to foster, alongside the other men in the group, a safe space where judgment is absent and vulnerability honored while we share our stories.
  • Life Drawing Experience – This workshop will give you some experience and guidance in drawing the human figure from life — full figure, interesting details, or anything in between. We will explore poses up to 15 minutes each and look for ways to capture what we see and feel. You can use pencil, charcoal, crayons, markers, or other materials, black and white or color. You may also sit as one of the models for the class. Participation is limited to 8, due to space. Facilitator Peter is an accomplished illustrator and painter who has shared his talent at Mainely Men on several occasions.  
  • The Lost Art of Listening – How important is listening? People live all the time with cell phones, ear buds, and digital distractions. Many of us hear, but unless we are interested, we don’t listen. Hearing is easy, listening is work. A walk through the city allows us to hear cars, horns, and people. Listening focuses us on our interestsand on each other. We have replaced listening with the tendency to shut out those with whom we disagree. The best communication involves careful listening and responding appropriately. Join us as we learn about how to really listen and become fully present. Facilitator Dave is a regular contributor to Mainely Men gatherings.
  • Naked Gentle Yoga – This class will be gentle and focus on breath, ease of movement, and full-body relaxation. Naked is the goal, but you are welcome to wear comfortable clothing for warmth. The cabin may seem chilly although the wood stove will be going. Enjoy the freedom of a naked yoga session with soothing music and a lying-down relaxation at the end. I will offer modifications for accessibility. Bring a yoga mat and a towel to sit on. Led by Eric, who holds yoga instructor certification.
  • SOS (x2): Sharing our Sorrow, Soothing our Soul – This workshop is a discussion-based session where we can share or give voice to a grief, loss, regret, or sorrow that we have been holding inside or that has been weighing us down or blocking our peace and happiness. Speaking to one’s pain in a trusted environment may help us move closer toward healing and acceptance and be embraced literally or figuratively by other men sharing their own inner angst. The aim is to be vulnerable, share mutual pain or loss, and provide support for each other as we air our sorrows together. Facilitator Jon Henry leads the Men’s Cancer Network group at the Bangor YMCA.
  • Tai Chi – This introductory class will teach you the basics of tai chi practice, including integrated whole-body movements, weight shifting, and footwork. Led by Mike, president of Mainely Men, chiropractor, and practitioner of tai chi.
  • Topic Raffle – A staple offering at every one of our gatherings, this “raffle” is an open discussion of random topics. Each man anonymously contributes a topic for the group to discuss. Men then choose at random from these topics. Each draw can lead to hilarity or thoughtful contemplation and discussion. Facilitator John is a regular contributor to Mainely Man and past co-pinky of MM84.

Weekend Schedule

Friday

3:00–5:45 – Greetings and Registration
6:00–7:00 – Dinner
6:30 – Camp Director Information / Board Introductions / Pinky Announcements
7:00–7:30 – Newcomer orientation
7:30–9:00 – Procession & Smoke Cleansing / Opening Circle Ceremony
9:15–10:00 – Heart Groups
10:00 – Quiet Time (Please be respectful of sleeping attendees)

Saturday

7:00–8:00 – Breakfast
8:00–9:30 – Workshop Session 1
10:00–11:30 – Workshop Session 2
12:00–12:45 – Lunch
12:45–1:15 – Group Photo
1:30–3:00 – Workshop Session 3
3:30–4:30 – Angel Walk
5:00–5:45 – Heart Groups
6:00–7:00 – Dinner
7:30–9:00 – Cultural Event / Bonfire / Games / Movie (to be determined)
10:00 – Quiet Time (Please be respectful of sleeping attendees)

Sunday

7:00–8:00 – Breakfast
8:00–9:30 – Workshop Session 4
10:00–10:45 – Heart Groups
11:00–12:00 – Closing Circle Ceremony
12:00–1:00 – Lunch
1:00 – As-needed Cleanup of Pilgrim Lodge (cabins and Old Lodge)

Get the Word Out

MM85 Brochure

Everything you need to know in a tri-fold brochure to share. Download PDF

MM85 Poster

Put up this poster with tear-off contact information. Download PDF