by Boysen Hodgson
Two articles from the Northwest this week celebrating rite of passage work that a new organization, Journeyman, is doing on Vachon Island in Washington state. The Northwest USA is fertile soil for this kind of culture changing work with young people – and the ManKind Project is proud to be connected to some amazing teachers and leaders.
“Journeymen: New organization aims to support island’s boys” from the Vachon Island Beachcomber
Alex Craighead and Nicky Wilks (New Warrior) are the founders of Journeymen on Vachon Island.
“The two have founded a new organization to offer the boys of the island an opportunity to start manhood off on the right foot. Armed with their own experiences of being teenagers on Vashon, Journeymen aims to revive the concept of a boy’s rite of passage into manhood by way of mentorship through nature, community and a network of role models.“
The article goes on to talk about many of the concepts deeply connected to our work with men. In speaking with Nicky and Alex about their work last month, ahead of a podcast recording talking about the ManKind Project for the “Rite Ways Radio” show, it is clear that Journeyman will be a strong addition to other organizations like Boys to Men, Cascadia Quest, and Journeyman UK (among many others!) in supporting the revival of meaningful rites of passage for our time.
“So then you do all those things because that’s what society told you to do and now what?” he said. “We ask a lot of questions. We are just providing a loose structure for them to learn about themselves. there is so little of us saying, ‘This is what you need to do.’ It’s us asking questions at opportune times and co-creating what they want to be.” ~Nicky Wilks
Sounds just right.
A second article, “The Making of Men” in the Eugene Weekly highlights one of the incredible connections that Nicky and Alex have made in getting ready to launch the Journeyman organization, Dr. Arne Rubinstein, Australian author of the book “The Making of Men,” and well known speaker and teacher / trainer for youth rites of passage. You can hear a great conversation with Arne on Rite Ways Radio, the podcast created by Nicky and Alex for Journeymen.
Also quoted is Rob Miller, New Warrior and founder of Cascadia Quest, another organization conducting youth rites of passage in the Northwest.
“It’s a traditional way to mark that change from child to young adult and it includes mentoring, time with older people, and a challenge for them to step into their adulthood.” Rites of passage have been a part of cultural traditions across time, but according to Miller, American culture lacks them. “There are some vestiges, like, for example, in the Jewish bar mitzvah or Catholic confirmation, but a lot of the meaning has been lost,” Miller says. There has been a recent reclamation of rites of passage, though, Miller says, and a resurgence of organizations popping up throughout the country, such as the nationwide ManKind Project and Rite of Passage Journeys in Seattle.
We continue to be encouraged that programs like these are growing across the United States – and around the world. #HopeForHumanity #NewWarrior.