Rites of Passage Weekend

What is the Adventure Passage Weekend?

     It’s a wild ride. It will be the most packed experience you have ever had. ’ll challenge you physically, mentally, and emotionally. We have dozens of activities and mind blowing processes that will open the door to your new world.

Background:

     Rites of passage have played an important role in many cultures for thousands of years. We believe that rites of passage must be relevant and appropriate for each culture, and therefore each culture’s practices will be different. However, there are some universal threads that weave their way through the rites of passage of many cultures. We discuss some of these commonalities here….

     Purpose:
      A primary function of any rite of passage is to allow children to choose a new adult identity in their community. Adults help to facilitate this process, and help them gain the skills and understandings that they will need to fulfill their potential as members of the community. Rites of passage mark an important transition and community members emphasize the importance of the event for both the individual and the community.

Confidentiality:
The specific processes used at a rite of passage are kept confidential. That is so younger members of the community do not receive the adult information before they are ready, because a rite of passage is considered sacred and personal and should not be treated casually, and because it relies on a degree of theater, surprise, and spontaneous response that would be lost if participants knew in advance what was going to happen.

     Wilderness Environment:
The isolation of a primitive setting removes participants from the routines and patterns of their lives so that they can “re-create” themselves. They have the opportunity to let go of old patterns that might no longer serve them. They start fresh, discover new, more mature qualities, and learn and adopt new responsibilities and roles.

     Time of Change:
The participant has an opportunity to reflect on their new status and to adjust to the enormous changes, which can be exciting, scary, challenging, and confusing all at once. The participant’s time away gives the community time to adjust to the changes as well. When the participant returns as an adult, the community is also ready to accept him or her as changed, as a new member of society. (Although primitive societies may have marked this change all at once, our community marks it gradually. See “Degrees of Progress” above.)

     Tests of Endurance, Courage, or Competence:
Primarily with young men, initiations incorporate physical or emotional tests. This helps the boy discover inner resources that they often don’t know exist and gain new self-respect and confidence. It also helps ensure that the initiate is ready for the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood. In our weekend events, the tests are very individual. They are challenging, but do not involve winning and losing, which can create shame. Each boy has the opportunity to test himself in ways that build self-esteem and facilitate growth.

     Teaching and learning:
In most rites of passage, elders, leaders, teachers, parents, or others teach initiates about important aspects of adulthood. Boys to Men “teaches” by helping boys learn their own lessons. Participants learn about accountability, integrity, personal responsibility, honest communication, connection to feeling, and about the importance of discovering a sense of mission in the world.

     Physical Token of Change:
After the boys have faced their challenges they are honored for having begun their “hero’s journey” into manhood. There is a celebration at which they are presented with a hero’s talisman. In addition, the young men are honored with a new status within the Boys to Men community; they are now called “Journeymen,” meaning that they are now on the journey to manhood. Journeymen are offered leadership opportunities and are eligible to staff other weekend events.

     Community and Sharing of Food:
In a traditional rite of passage, a young man’s family and community “witness” his passage into manhood through a ceremony or celebration that follows his rite of passage. One common form of community participation is eating together. At our weekend events, boys and young men who participate are honored for their accomplishments with a feast.

J-Man Candidate Kit
Weekend Staff Registration