A Few Good Men

Strengthening bonds with the community, peers and between mothers and sons

  • Category
    People, Social Scene
  • Photographed by
    Michael Becker

  • Pictured Above
    Carson and Allyson Arons with their fellow Mid Valley NLYM chapter members

Raising good men is the primary goal of the National League of Young Men (NLYM). But there’s another benefit. The organization gives boys a chance to do something with their mothers.

“Sports is often the only thing we get to do with our sons,” says Mid Valley Chapter President Gretchen McCourt, mom of two Loyola students. “This gives us another way of being together, enjoying each other’s company. And the boys are learning important skills like networking,” she adds.

The nonprofit organization for boys (grades 9-12) and their mothers focuses on learning leadership skills and how to behave like a gentleman. Also part of the experience: performing community service and attending cultural events together.

“It is a great way for my sons to have cross Valley peers and to network outside of their school activities.”

The Mid Valley Chapter was founded about a year ago. Gretchen’s son Luke went to a NLYM event for the Pacific Palisades Chapter and enjoyed it but couldn’t join because he didn’t live in the area. So the Sherman Oaks mom (and Executive VP at ArcLight Cinemas) decided to launch a Mid Valley Chapter. Members must live between Encino and Burbank; there are also West Valley and Pasadena chapters.

Tracey Garnett, who works as a gynological surgeon while raising two sons, agrees about the benefits. “It is a great way for my sons to have cross Valley peers and to network outside of their school activities.”

Carson Arons leads the life of a typical busy teenager, playing both baseball and basketball at Notre Dame High School. But when his mom asked him to join NLYM, he says he immediately said yes. “It sounded fun. I like learning about leadership. And the speakers we’ve had have been really interesting.”

The Mid Valley Chapter, which now includes 115 boys, has five meetings a year with speakers and etiquette training. Other activities include trips to museums and concerts. There are formal dinners for juniors and seniors.

Membership is also extended to boys who don’t have moms. “What happens in that case is another mom from the group will sponsor the boy so he can participate in NLYM. It’s really sweet,” says Allyson Arons.