For millennia, cultures around the world have marked boys’ transition into manhood with rites of passage. These rites provided a framework within which boys were empowered to marry freedom with personal responsibility, to take on roles of accountability within their societies and to authentically realize their adulthood. These rites were integral to sustainable communities., and yet most of the world today has seen their disappearance. The omission has created societies of uninitiated men who are suffering from high rates of depression, anger and is contributing to rising rates of violent crime, gang membership, drug use and fatherless homes.. Attempting to occupy the void, boys incorporate fictitious expressions of masculinity that often include violence, materialism, misogyny and domination. Journeymen Asheville’s mission is to serve as a local chapter for the remediation of this widespread societal illness—to offer mentorship and rites of passage opportunities to at-risk boys that support their transformation to becoming men of integrity. The Rights Of Passage Adventure Weekend (ROPAW) is a two day and two night event held in a natural setting, where boys are guided through a challenging journey of self-discovery during which they are given the opportunity to let go of old patterns that no longer serve them while taking a creative role in declaring what they want to live for and what kind of men they want to be. Through physical, mental and emotional tests, these boys—or “Journeymen”—discover inner resources that they may not have been aware of. We strongly believe that this program is needed now more than ever. Social/political/environmental struggles point to a global displacement of the young male psyche which can be healed best through holistic approaches that incorporate psychological, spiritual and social elements. ROPAW empowers at-risk boys at a critical time in their life, posing a salient potential to transform both the initiates and their communities.
Funded by Asheville, NC (September 2016)