The Soncatcher vision began several years ago. I worked for 27 years at a community counseling center in Edmond, Oklahoma. The last 12 years were spent as Executive Director, but prior to that I was responsible for providing individual and family counseling, program development, and case management. As case manager I would review hundreds of intake forms from prospective clients requesting family counseling.
It was during this time that I noticed a trend; the great majority of these requests were by single mothers requesting a male counselor to see their sons. The presenting concerns were most often related to anger, bad attitudes, and defiant behaviors. Typically these behaviors usually appeared to be directed towards the mother, siblings, and authority figures at school. I would have to inform these single mothers that we could accommodate their requests, but that our earliest opening for a male counselor would often be two to three months! (Not only was this waiting period typical for our agency, but also for most counseling centers in this country.)
This reality remains today in most mental health facilities across the nation. In addition, a similar issue exists in our public school systems: a substantial lack of male teachers and administrators. With fathers becoming more absent in the American family, this leaves a gaping hole where male influence is needed. Boys are feeling more and more impact from outside sources, i.e., music, television, movies, social networking, etc., often with themes that are contrary to Christian values. The media, for many boys, has become the extended family of today, and unfortunately more time is often spent with this “extended family” than with their own families.
So, what to do? It is our belief that providing father-son type experiences such as hiking, going to athletic events, watching movies, fishing, playing catch, and serving side-by side in community projects will give these boys opportunities that will help guide their growth towards manhood. Each activity is designed not only for fun, but to provide time for “teachable moments” during the activity: times to impart insight and wisdom to assist boys in character, social and life skills development. As a Christian faith-based organization, Soncatchers is open to all boys of all faiths who are from absent-father homes.
Joey Shaw, Soncatcher Executive Director, worked 27 years with Edmond Family Counseling during which he served as an adventure-based counselor, family counselor, program director, and for the last 12 years, as the Executive Director. During this time he worked closely with the Edmond Public Schools, the City of Edmond, The Oklahoma County and Edmond Juvenile Courts, the University of Central Oklahoma and many Edmond churches. Joey earned his Masters of Education with a major in Counseling Psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma. As a Licensed Professional Counselor., Joey has worked with families, adults, and married couples, providing workshops, counseling and consulting services. Currently, he continues to provide professional services through Christian Counseling Associates and counseling services through the Special Needs Alternative Program in the Mid-Del School District.
Joey and his wife Patti have been married 34 years and have homeschooled their three sons, Jeremiah, Josiah, and Joseph. Through the years, the family has been involved in elementary and high school sports, educational co-op activities, church youth group and home care groups, missions, as well as community and civic activities. Currently, the couple enjoys close relationships with their grown sons, daughter-in-laws Whitney and Sara, granddaughters Huntley and Tenley, and grandson Walker. They delight in watching their kids dream, serve, and work. .