Lowcountry conference hosts 6th year of empowering boys navigating into manhood

Published: Aug. 26, 2023 at 6:57 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 26, 2023 at 11:53 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Helping young boys transition into manhood is the goal of one conference founder who has been empowering youth and redefining manhood for the last six years.

The annual Boyz to Men Conference teaches boys in the Charleston area about alternatives and solutions to violence, promotes discussions on healthy relationships and encourages respect, especially towards other young girls.

“We decided, you know, it’s time to do something for the boys,” Butch Kennedy, Boyz to Men Conference founder and event coordinator, said. “This is their day. They’re kings and they never quit. So, today is their day to shine.”

This year’s conference also focused on topics of food insecurity and the importance of nutrition. Throughout the day, around 350 boys listened to a variety of keynote speakers and local musicians.

“It becomes something more than about the ‘Butch Kennedy’s’ who do the things that they do or the ‘Raphael James’,’ or any of these individuals or any of these organizations,” Kennedy said. “It becomes about the community and changing the culture that our kids are faced with.”

The boys got to attend breakout sessions and meet their new mentors who can help them navigate life for years to come.

“Our young kids, especially our young boys, tend to never, ever have anybody do anything for them and we want to change that narrative,” Kennedy said. “We want to make sure that our young kids know that they have a group of people that support them.

Kennedy says his goal is to continue this conference on an annual basis and empower boys to become men year after year.

For more information on how to get involved with future Boyz to Men Conferences or other related events, follow the Palmetto Hope Network website, or their Facebook page.