Gitanmaax Dudes Club will host a men’s health fair in Hazelton on Aug. 21.
Men will able to get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked; learn about early detection of testicular cancer; and other health issues that affect men.
The fair will take place in the McGowan Building beside the BC Cafe in downtown Hazelton from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Gitanmaax Dudes Club is Hazelton’s branch of an initiative started in the east side of downtown Vancouver in 2010.
The program promotes men’s wellness by prioritizing supportive relationships, engagement in health care and Indigenous world views.
Gitanmaax Dudes club started in mid May of this year.
Each week men from the community meet at the McGowan Building to discuss whatever issues are bothering them, prepare and partake in a home-cooked meal and participate in that week’s activity.
Some weeks they go on hikes; other weeks they go on a rafting trip from Kispiox to K’san, Gitanmaax Dudes Club facilitator Michael Johnson said.
“There’s all kinds of services specific for women and youth..and guys just get ignored,” Johnson said.
“People that come from treatment centres said there’s nothing to do; there’s no place to go.”
Most of them don’t want to go to [Alcoholics Anonymous] so this is going to provide after care support for someone that went through the treatment program and they need some positive place to connect.”
The group is not exclusively for men with alcohol or drug problems. Anyone is welcome in the group Johnson said.
The age of group members ranges from teenagers to mid fifties; though most of the men in the group are over 35, Johnson said.
The Dudes Club is funded by the Gitanmaax Band Office through the Gitanmaax Health and Wellness Office.
“I feel that being around other men in this kind of forum allows me to be a lot more open with my own feelings and emotions,” Dudes Club member Shawn Woods said.
“I try to share as much of myself as a I can, not just with [the group] but with people in general.”
“But I feel doing so with [the group] allowed me to become more open,” Woods added.
Gitanmaax Dudes Club meets on Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Doors open at 11 a.m. to prep the meal, clean up and to connect. The meal is shared at around 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.