OCOP: Welcome to the Bro Club

Jonathan Willcocks aims to build community among men.

For more than 20 years, Jonathan Willcocks has helped not only his business prosper, but supporting others, big and small.

As the founder of Pinnacle Pursuits, Willcocks uses the great outdoors and adventure as a way to experience team building events and business training in a group dynamic.

From large multi-national companies to small burgeoning ones looking to create a new culture, Willcocks and his team have created unique experiences to building a better bond in the workplace.

With the help of friend and co-worker Dominic Kotarski, the pair have set out to build something new for the men of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

The two launched The Bro-Club in April of 2017, in what Willcocks describes as an opportunity for men to authentically connect, share what’s important in their lives, and offer an environment where they can learn and grow from each other.

“We want to be a neighbourly group and we want to build community,” explains Willcocks.

“In our western world, we’ve kind of lost touch with that sense of community, and with each passing generation. We tend to get quite insular. But when you look at cultures in Central and South America, and places in Europe, the sense of multi-generations and bonding together to help is still quite prevalent.”

He says that’s what he hopes springs from the Bro-Club.

He also understands that the idea of a men’s only club might lead to some raised eye-brows. But he said the goal isn’t a throwback to some 1970s version of masculinity. Rather, he hopes it’s a way for guys to be able to reach out, and open up in a safe and welcoming environment.

“There’s lots of women’s empowering groups out there and we are kind of losing touch with the idea of manhood and masculinity and who we are as men in the world and what we can do to support that.”

The group meets the first Tuesday of every month, in various locations, for a chance to socialize, as well as to discuss relevant topics of the day.

He said one of their recent meetings involved a discussion focusing on constructive differences between what is dialogue and what is debate.

“We’re setting up an arena that is non-judgmental and how to approach disagreement and debate. We may be opposed to opinions, but how can we put that subject in the middle of the table and just say, ‘This is a topic in life and discuss it without it turning into a shouting match.’ We don’t have to necessarily agree, but let’s just share out experiences. A lot of what we encourage is personal story sharing.”

He says the group has around 30 members, from all walks of life, from 26-year-old new dads to 72-year-old car enthusiasts.

Willcocks said the bond the group has formed has been quite satisfying to watch. One group meeting led to a father looking to fulfill a promise to his children. For years, he says the father told his three sons he would take them fishing. It wasn’t until he joined the Bro-Club that he was able to find someone who could help him fulfill that goal.

“It was his son’s 10th birthday and it was something that was important to him. But he didn’t really know how to fish. Suddenly you have three or four guys around the table sharing where to go, what supplies you can use, and offering to lend his supplies and gear,” says Willcocks.

Not long after the meeting, the young father sent a picture of his kids and himself, all with fish in their hands, having one of the best days they’ve ever had.

“And it was all because had had the courage to ask. It was a really cool experience for the group as a whole.”

The other benefit he said is that it’s opened up a wider network for the group to share, whether it’s a home renovation or a community project someone is passionate about.

“There’s a sense of community that is building. Members are connecting, lending tools for projects, helping with garden projects. People are calling on each other and find they can depend on one another, and it’s very cool to watch that grow and flourish.”

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