Rites of Passage

In today’s culture, intentional rites of passage for youth entering adulthood have mostly been lost or at least diminished in importance. Many of our teenage boys initiate themselves in ways that are unhealthy for their development, such as their first experiences with drugs, alcohol or sex. Some positive forms of rites of passage would be learning to drive, their first job, or graduating high school.

Intentional rites of passage have played an important role in many cultures for thousands of years, as experiences that challenge boys in a safe way to consciously explore the men they wish to be adds a powerful dimension to their development into manhood.

A primary function of any rite of passage is to allow children to consciously choose a new adult identity. Adults help to facilitate this process and help them gain the skills and understandings they will need to fulfill their potential as members of the community.

The isolation in a primitive setting removes participants from the routines and patterns of their lives so that they can “re-create” themselves. They are given the opportunity to let go of old patterns that might no longer serve them.

Our Rites of Passage Adventure Weekend (ROPAW) incorporates physical, mental, and emotional tests. These tests can help a boy discover inner resources that he may not have been previously aware of, thus helping him gain new self-respect and confidence. In our weekend events, the tests are challenging, but do not involve winning and losing, which we believe creates the potential for shame. Each boy has the opportunity to test himself in ways that build self-esteem and facilitate growth.

Following the ROPAW the boys and young men who participated are honored for their accomplishments with a welcoming home ceremony and potluck feast.

We conduct our Rite of Passage Adventure Weekends each year in the fall.


We do not want cost to be a prohibitive factor for families or volunteer staff. Please reach out if you are interested in registering but need scholarship help in order to make it a reality.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Jordan Bowman:

JourneymenRegistrar@gmail.com | 919.907.1177

Rites of passage
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