Rites of Passage Adventure Weekend

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ROPAW

​A Transformative Retreat for Teenage Youth (14-17)

The Rites of Passage Adventure Weekend (ROPAW) is a powerful experience for both boys and men. It is an opportunity for boys to take on the challenge of doing men’s work: telling the truth, sharing how they feel, and learning how to support each other. It is a bonding experience that creates trust, respect and builds close connections between boys and with the community of adult men.

The ROPAW takes place two times a year (typically April & September) at a camp outside of Prescott. Through a series of carefully facilitated processes, the boys discover new aspects of themselves and gain a better understanding of the challenges that they are experiencing in life. During the weekend, mentors direct three sets of powerful questions at the boys:​​

 

WHAT IS GOING ON IN YOUR LIFE?

WHAT KIND OF MAN DO YOU WANT TO BE?

HOW CAN YOU BECOME THAT MAN?

The ROPAW mentors carefully listen to the boys without judgment. They create a safe and supportive environment for the boys to do their men’s work by encouraging them in caring, positive ways. The boys find that they can respond with courage and honesty. They find their integrity, respect, passion, and opportunities to show leadership during the weekend. With ongoing mentoring in our school circles and on our weekend Adventure Groups, we continue to support the boys after the weekend so they can put what they have learned to use at home, in school, and wherever they go.

The ROPAW is an exhilarating, life-changing experience that many boys say they will never forget. If you think your young man is right for ROPAW, please submit the ROPAW Enrollment Meeting Request form.

ROPAW Enrollment Meeting Request Form

 

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​I’ve never had a father to teach me… but this weekend has given me a village of fathers, grandfathers and brothers. – John

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The event gave me the courage to stand for what I believe in. – Evan

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I was able to connect with the mentors and I was able to tell them stuff that I had never told anyone before. – Charlie

The Origins of Rites of Passage

For Thousands of Years​​ all cultures found healthy ways to guide their young men through the challenges of adolescence and into adulthood. These rites of passage reinforced cultural norms, transferred wisdom between generations, and made young men’s roles clear. Unfortunately, in our culture, such traditions have been abandoned. Our young men – indeed our whole community – suffer when the boys don’t receive guidance, love and clarity during this vital time.

For Two Decades​, Boys to Men has been hosting Rites of Passage Adventure Weekends (ROPAW) several times a year. Boys to Men ROPAWs take place in diverse communities in over a dozen countries. Prescott has been hosting ROPAWs since 2009 and is one of the strongest and most active centers in the United States.

​Why are Rites of Passage Important Today?

Adolescence is even more challenging than it was back when traditional rites of passage were common. Today, due to a host of factors, a young man’s life can be filled with uncertainty and fear. A boy does not need to be “at risk” to need a time apart to grow up. The young men in the community are crying out for attention, guidance, and a time to feel supported and honored.

Because traditional rites of passage have declined, today’s youth have developed their own initiations. These usually involve secrecy, bullying, intoxication, risk-taking, and can result in injury or death.

Modern, guided Rites of Passage, on the other hand, involve a trained adult facilitators, healthy peer role-models, safe challenges, and men who will make time for these boys as they travel their “Journey Into Manhood”. With the help of adult men who can see a young man for who he is, a young man can become more conscious of his world, his issues, and of the tremendous potential that is awakening inside his being.

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WOW. I am not sure what you did, but my son (James) came back a different person. His anger was gone and I could see peace in his eyes. He did not say much, he didn’t have to. I cried tears of joy and hope as he told me about the weekend. I forgot what joy and hope felt like. The only tears I have cried in the past five years were despair. I know we have a long way to go, but I now feel that we have a much clearer path. THANK YOU! Thank you for giving me my son back.Lori

What Happens on a Boys To Men ROPAW?

The agenda of a ROPAW is carefully crafted to support teenage boys as they start making their transition toward healthy manhood. There are games, activities, discussion circles, challenge events, and celebrations of victory. There are moments of intensity and opportunities to practice safe vulnerability. Often the boys open up and find acceptance and support. At the end of the experience, they are honored for their successes and asked to commit to their own path to manhood in a powerful way.

We are more than willing to share the full agenda for the weekend with parents or guardians. However, we do not tell the boys the specifics of the weekend since it would dilute the effectiveness of the processes.

 

CHECK THE IMAGE GALLERY ON THE RIGHT 

Why do ROPAWs Take Place Outside of Town?

The isolation of the natural setting removes participants from the routines and patterns of their lives so that they can “re-create” themselves. Outside, up on the Mountain, the boys 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.

In wide open spaces, the participants have 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 boys’ time away gives the community time to adjust to the changes as well. When the young men returns as “journeymen,” the community is also ready to accept them as changed; as new members of society.

Do you know a young man ready for his Rite of Passage? Complete the enrollment form on this page, or contact us.

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