Our Story

“Thanks for the lesson man it really showed me what it means and feels like to be a man!”

 

This message was written on a post-it in 2014 by a Year 9 boy at Frankston High School, after The Man Cave’s first-ever workshop. The week before, its author had been anonymously voted as the school’s biggest bully.

That’s when Hunter Johnson and Jamin Heppell, The Man Cave’s founders, knew they were on to something special.

Both driven by a lifelong passion for social change and seeing the impact of mental illness and domestic violence, they saw the need to work with young men at a preventative level, empowering them to become great men for themselves, their relationships and their communities.

So they answered a call from Frankston High School in 2014, which was seeking a wellness program for its boys. Leaving aside their own ridiculously similar social enterprises (Hunter ran Change the Game and Jamin GameChangers), the pair met three nights a week for six weeks, designing the skeleton of a program they decided to call The Man Cave.

After six workshops in two days, the school’s principal pulled them aside.

“I’ve never seen the corridors lit up like this. I don’t know what you guys did, but keep doing it.”

It’s been six years since that workshop and The Man Cave has gone from strength to strength, impacting more than 17,000 boys, parents and teachers across Australia with programs that allow young men to explore and express their full humanity. It has hired a diverse team of charismatic, relatable and highly trained male facilitators from a range of backgrounds and built out its office HQ team to keep the operation running smoothly. The organisation has gathered global support from The Royal Family, and appeared on all major TV and news publications for the continued positive impact in communities.

 

The Man Cave has been guided since 2018 by two of its incredible founding board members in Ian Ward-Ambler and Michaela Healey. The Man Cave simply wouldn’t be where it is today without Ian and Michaela’s bold support from the organisation’s infancy and the wonderful support of Jono Nicholas and Carolyn Bendall.

Our Vision

A world in which every man has healthy relationships, contributes to his community and reaches his full potential.

Our Mission

Empowering boys to become great men by providing them and their communities with impactful programs, role models and resources.

Values & Culture

At The Man Cave (TMC) culture is not an idea – it is a practice.

If we can’t see our culture in the work people do, the way they relate to others, the way they hold themselves – it doesn’t exist.

That’s why our culture is expressed through behaviours that are front and centre in large team meetings and one-on-ones; behaviours to which all staff are equally accountable, no matter how senior. These are behaviours that we celebrate in each other and that we use to hold one another to higher standards.

Our unique culture recently lead staff to give TMC a near-perfect score of 9.5/10 when asked ‘how likely are you to recommend working at TMC to others’? Our culture delivers on one big promise every time:

You’ll be a better person when you leave TMC than when you arrived.

Humanity First

Put the care for others first before moving onto business

 

Catch it before it drifts

We catch even the smallest issues before they become larger, including interpersonal conflicts

Be here now

Be present with the people around you

 

Take stock & celebrate the wins

We make time to slow down, reflect and celebrate what we have achieved

Do your work

Take responsibility for your personal wellbeing, prepare effectively for meetings and other events and be prepared to do the work on yourself so you can become a better person

 

Get it done

Be resilient and focused under pressure so that you achieve the outcomes you set out to

Take the shot

Back yourself and be proactive

 

Be a springboard

Support others to bounce back up when they take a shot and it misses