Local educator and historian Roy Bodden refers to his job as University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) president as a calling.
"For me this is a commitment and I have to take the responsibility that comes with it," he said. "I take teaching and education seriously, and I expect to go the extra mile everyday."
This passion, together with insight gained from informal discussions with students on the UCCI campus led him to develop the Men of Standard programme. It is a 13-week series of two-hour interactive seminars that specifically targets young men and is designed to help them navigate the challenges of a changing Caymanian society.
Sessions on anger management are included, as well as on elocution, respect for self and others, dress and deportment, financial management, etiquette, and responsible sexual behaviour.
"While young women also need guidance, I believe that our young men are more at risk," Mr. Bodden explained. "Failure to make the right decisions leads to marginalisation. They are then caught in a cycle that condemns them to lives of drudgery, drugs and dilapidation."
He said that young Caymanian men must distinguish themselves with the right conduct, deportment, speech and dress. He also expects male UCCI graduates to be model citizens, offering more than 'just a degree'.
While this UCCI programme does not award credits, it is offered free of charge and is open to all interested men. Mr. Bodden also considers it an integral part of the college experience.
One programme graduate, Assistant Collector of Customs Jeff Jackson, heard about it and decided to attend with his son despite the fact that he no longer regards himself as youthful.
"I entered the programme with three goals: To set an example to my son and other participants; to support and encourage them and to learn something myself.
"I'm never too old to learn," he continued, "and the knowledge and experience gained will certainly be of lifelong benefit."
First year natural sciences major Avian Hiatt agreed. He said that Men of Standard taught him how to be a gentleman and covered many topics that were not generally discussed openly at home. He strongly recommended the programme as essential for every young man across Cayman.
Mr. Bodden, who plans to repeat the seminar in September, hopes that participants will walk away with a sense of self-respect, confidence, and citizenship.
For further information contact: Kenisha Morgan