'Wolf Pack' pushes men to have brave conversations about masculinity

A new Calgary group is "building better men" by creating a brave space for them to talk about body image, sex, dating, family, work and job loss.

Calgary dudes meet up to talk about more than just sports, news and politics

Calgary is the first city to launch a Wolf Pack meetup group. Vancouver and Toronto are next. (Mike Spenrath/CBC)

There's a new group in Calgary that wants to help men who feel like lone wolves find their wolf pack.

"A lot of men suffer from social isolation, which is an actual detriment to men's health as they grow and age," said Jake Stika, the co-founder of Next Gen Men, an after-school program for boys aged 12 to 14 that's "building better men" by pushing them to talk honestly about issues surrounding masculinity.

The program is now expanding, launching a monthly gathering — called Wolf Pack — in cities across Canada for adult men aged 25 to 45.

According to the group:

  • One in four men are at risk of isolation and loneliness, which are risk factors for depression, anxiety and suicide.
  • 37 per cent of men typically do not feel emotionally connected or supported in their relationships.
  • 25 per cent of of men have nobody outside their immediate family to turn to.

Wolf Pack describes itself as a "unique brotherhood of men" that fosters conversations with "depth and substance."

"We're a pro-feminist organization, we're LGBTQ friendly, and we don't tolerate any marginalizing attitudes whatsoever," said Stika.

"[We're] trying to get men to talk about things that we don't normally talk about," he added.

Instead of gathering over a pint to talk about sports, news and politics, men get together to discuss body image issues, sex, dating, family, work and job loss.

Calgary is the first city to launch a Wolf Pack meetup group. Vancouver and Toronto are next.

With files from the CBC's Mike Spenrath