I want to begin my article for the magazine by letting you know that through the work on young men weekends, more than 100 young men’s lives across the content were enhanced by the men in MDI this summer. Yeah, you may say that is very little comparatively speaking and you may be right. However, 100 is 100 and the numbers are going to improve because more men from MDI are going to be involved next year.
The work of mentoring young men through young men’s initiation events is one way to get involved. There are other events too. There are father/son and other events where men in MDI bring their sons to experience men making a difference.
I am here to tell you that men are in action and their sons are too. Our sons watch us all the time. Boys watch both men and women all the time. The hope is the adults are behaving excellently. Unfortunately, that is not always a guarantee of action. Some men and some women behave badly. The men in MDI and like-minded men’s organizations are moving to counterbalance that in some essential way. This includes creating circles where young men can be themselves without criticism.
I am looking for men who want to step up and work with my team “The Kingmakers” and to develop more circles in our areas in MDI, that can meet periodically to show young men alternatives to just hanging out. It is my vision to have every region in MDI involved in young men’s work at least two times a quarter.
If you want to do more, let me know. My team of men have over a 100 years of collective wisdom working with young males 13-17. We are beginning to reach out to other men outside of MDI who are in different locations. If this speaks to you in either networking with us or pointing us in a direction of more resources for working with young males, call me and I will direct you to the members of my team.
Mark Gofstein, Director of the MDI Cause, New England, 617-821-5174
Young Men’s Ultimate Weekends
Santa Cruz Sentinel
San Jose Mercury News
Mountain Wisdom Team Says Thank You
Thanks to all of you we have successfully complete our 2014 Rites of Passage Camps. It has been a rich and transformational experience for us all.
We had 15 men to help set up BROP, 8 full time staff/mentors, 8 men on the logistics team, two men to help with ceremony and 14 for strike. We had 9 young men and a few that have come back as staff in training. To see them the first day and then to see the young men confident, joyful and standing tall at graduation says it all. What a great week of fun, challenge, teachings, accountability, team work, nature, initiation, emotional and spiritual growth. And to top it off we ate wholesome health food like kings.
We had a team of 6 men and several women come together to set up the ROPE girl’s camp. 8 Sacred Women gave their hearts, gifts and wisdom to 13 young ladies for an incredible initiation that will ripple out for years to come. The weekend was full of fun, primitive skills, plant medicine, nature teachings, crafts, music, energy work, self-discovery and ceremony. ROPE ended with a beautiful graduation and renaming. To see all the beautiful women standing together after this shared experience confirmed once again the importance of this work. We together create the space for the magic to happen.
All of us have come together along with many others that have made financial contributions to make all of this possible.
We as the MW community have taken a stand for our young people and are helping them transition into adulthood. It is not just a good idea; it is our responsibility. Pat yourself and each other on the back for a job well done.
My hope is that each of us will take every opportunity to guide, mentor, listen and just hang out with young people in our lives. If you don’t know any, find them. They need our support more than ever in this society. The rewards will come back to us all.
Please contact me back telling your experience with MW. I would like to hear creative input positive or constructive ideas for improvement to create a more effective, broader reaching organization.
Peace and Love to all!
Boys to Men – Right of Passage Adventure Weekend
By Sam Rodgers, New England Division
Teenage boys and men in a circle, speaking their truth. What could be more natural… and unusual? Men and initiated boys helping other boys find a vision for their future, discovering that who they are right now is not a failure, but a work in progress. Boys being challenged to stretch internally, to trust men, to find their voice about what kind of men they want to become and what possible barriers might get in their way; to face their fears. All in a mask-down environment, where purpose, heart and fun meet for three beautiful days.
For the past five years, I have helped staff the Boys to Men Rite of Passage Adventure weekend (ROPA) as well as meet biweekly with 5-8 teenage boys and a few other mentors. I have witnessed the growth of some very fine young men. Throughout the year these meetings provide a safe space for all of us to be honest, open, playful and experiment with being the man we want to grow into. Being there on a regular basis, building trust, and being revealing can create many special moments. When a man stands toe to toe, eye to eye with a teen and tells him of the qualities of greatness he sees in the young man, that young man soaks it up like a sponge and knows that he has been seen. So simple, yet so rich and so empowering. Men’s circles have taught me that I have this valuable gift to give.
What I’ve learned as a mentor is that teenage boys don’t need our advice, our “arrogant wisdom”. They need our ears, our acceptance, our encouragement, and an idea of what a good man looks like. That’s all they need from men to send them off on their own path with confidence and self-acceptance. What a gift we can give them! I believe that Boys to Men has a model for a healthier masculine presence in our society.
The sacrifice I make for this vision is real. Sometimes I don’t want to go to a 4-hour meeting on Sunday afternoon or in the middle I wish I could go home and watch a football game. But then we start to have fun (what teenage boys doesn’t love to have fun!) or a boy takes a risk and then I remember that my legacy is alive and that “quitting is not an option” and then I smile at my ego and let it go.
Sam Rodgers, SMW October 89, LD May 09
(413) 367-2447, firstname.lastname@example.org