Welcome to Compass! We're glad you found us. This statement has been produced to let you know a little more about the group and how we operate.
Compass started in 1999, as a reconfiguration of an FTM (female-to-male) group that had been meeting in the Boston area for several years. We chose the name Compass because it suggests that the group can help each member navigate their course and follow their true direction. We also liked that it's part of the words 'encompass' and 'compassion.' Here are some things you should know about the group:
We want this to be a safe space for everyone who attends. It's OK for guys to give friends and family general information about what is said in Compass meetings, but identifying information about other members should not be shared outside the group.
The group is run informally by the guys who attend. Every six months or so we pick a set of topics for the upcoming six months. We have one regular facilitator, but anyone can volunteer to facilitate a meeting once they are familiar enough with how the group works.
The number of guys each month ranges from 10-25. Each meeting begins with introductions, welcoming new members, announcements, and any business items that need to be taken care of. Usually we break into smaller groups for the discussion topic. Before wrapping up, the whole group comes together to recap our discussions and process any last minute business. Usually we hang out informally after the meeting to socialize. Topics and attendance vary, so try attending at least three meetings before deciding whether or not Compass is for you.
A Few Words About Peer Support Groups
We are all here because we need something: an end to isolation, a sense of belonging, emotional support, friends and laughter as well as information and referrals to other resources. You can find all these things in the group.
That said, Compass is not a professional therapy group and is not meant to be a replacement for therapy. We're all working on managing our own lives. You won't find all your answers here, and you won't be able to solve other people's problems either. But Compass is a place to listen and be listened to.
Dealing With Differences
Please remember that Compass is a growing, changing, evolving group,just as each member within it is growing, changing and evolving, and is made up of people from diverse backgrounds. You may not like everyone in the room, you may feel that you have nothing in common with anyone here, or you may be surprised by how much you have in common with some of us. Be willing to listen respectfully to others, and it will be reciprocated. Avoid judging, disparaging or taking sides. Speak from your own experience, keep an open mind, admit when you make a mistake, and maintain your sense of humor.