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HYATTSVILLE, MD, August 19, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The 13th Man organization held its 6th Annual Summer Classics on July 28-31 at the College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, the first in-person event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event, led by 13th Man founder Davon Kelly welcomed eighty-five bright young men, ages 12-18 to participate in the 4-day conference designed to foster personal and professional growth, physical activity, and brotherhood.
"We are pleased to have gathered for the first time since 2020," says Mr. Kelly. "At the onset of the global pandemic, we pivoted and worked to ensure that our engagement with our young men was not significantly impacted by the shutdown. This year, we are overjoyed to return to the University of Maryland College Park to reconnect with our youth, our future leaders, with the goal of exposing them to a world of possibilities through meaningful dialogue and group building activities."
Each year, the Summer and Spring Classics welcomes a distinguished group of leaders who engage participants through topical discussions relevant to their everyday lives. This year's featured guest speakers and topic discussions included: Wanda Alexander (Life is a Process), Ray Custis (Impact of Bullying), Marlon Griffith (Brand You), CJ Williams (Overcoming Adversity), Ray Nix & Kevin Wideman (Embracing the Grind), Davon Kelly (Commanding the Room), Clint Dickenson (Accepting Your Journey), Rayvon Hicks and Isaiah Hazward (Motivational Messages).
"I look forward to participating in this event each year because of what it represents and the impact it's having on our young men, particularly those of color," says Ray Nix. "So many of our youth are at crossroads within their lives and oftentimes the game changer depends on the support they receive, the conversations they have, the role models they have access to, and being influenced positively by their fellow peers. The 13th Man provides that opportunity and the safe space for them to develop without judgment. I am honored to contribute to the event's success."
"Guy Talk", the organization's most trusted small group discussion forum focuses on personal, social, household, and academic events in the young men's lives. Cristopher Harris, 18 years old Alumni and owner of Hot Heat Sneakers in Kettering, Maryland reflects on it being among his conference highlights for 2022. "Guy Talk is always one of my favorite moments of the conference. It provides nuggets of life that help guide me with some of the issues I face as a young man. To be able to speak openly, in a private setting, about topics that I would normally not be comfortable discussing is a great feeling." This year's discussion included "Overcoming the Speed Bumps of Life", Determining What Is Your Why", Family Disappointment, and COVID-19 pressures, realities, and impacts.
Other conference highlights included morning meditation with Brandon Coleman, Former NFL player, who led the group of men through mindfulness exercises focused on breathing, setting intentions, and affirmations. This year's closing session concluded with keynote speaker Dr. Shawn McBride who presented a high-energy, interactive, presentation focused on "Courage Confidence", empowering, and challenging the young men to be lions and roar. "I thoroughly enjoyed this," says the father of Ethan Jennings (15 years old) who attended the Classics with his son. "It took my son to the next level. I taught him how to be a Gentleman, earn good grades, respect himself and others. Even taught him German. However, Mr. Kelly and everyone around him took Mentorship to another level. A level I wished I had as a young man."
Kenny Owona, 15 years old, "Mr. Kelly, Thank you for your extreme generosity over the course of the weekend and all of the past 13th Man gatherings. This is an experience I'll never forget and it's all because of the speakers and knowledge you've provided."
Kristopher Tynes, 20 years old, Sophomore/Johnson C. Smith University, "Dear Mr. Kelly, Thank you a million times for this inspiring weekend. The empowerment, kindness, and leadership exhibited in three short days is more than I could have imagined. I am enormously grateful to have gained the mentorship and support of so many extraordinary leaders. I am excited to see this organization continue to blossom and grow."
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION
The 13th Man Inc. is a non-profit leadership development organization that empowers and transforms young men, ages 12-17, into the next generation of change makers. We offer year-round tutoring, mentoring, leadership development and enrichment engagements that are designed to lay the foundation for participants to achieve academic success and become well-rounded, active, and impactful leaders of their communities today and beyond. The 13th Man is headquartered in Prince George's County, Maryland, with a chapter in Charlotte, North Carolina. We are a registered 501c3 organization.
The 7th Annual 13th Man Charity Golf Tournament will be held on September 19, 2022, at the Norbeck Country Club. Golfers and Sponsors are welcomed. Please visit www.the13thman.org for more details.
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