July 20, 2012

The Next CRoP - Becoming Men

A group of good men and their female allies are gathering together in Hobart, Tasmania to do a Rites of Passage program for their boys and, at some point, their young women. They are calling their first effort for boys, Becoming Men and their organization CRoP, or Community Rites of Passage.

I'm offering up their story because together, these stalwart folks represent a community of people, with diverse backgrounds, but sharing the common passion for supporting teenagers. It's really a tale of courageous adults because none of them have done this before. They are supporting their young people as they move toward adulthood because, if they don't, no one else will, and their children may be lost.

Their first big event will be in August 2012 in southeastern Tasmania. The flyer for the passage event asks these questions:
Boys will be boys, but will your boy become a capable and responsible man?

All boys get challenged and tested as they move toward manhood, but will these challenges:
  • Enhance self-esteem?

  • Develop a sense of responsibility?

  • Give a sense of belonging to community?
A Community Rite of Passage does!

Here is their story as told by Nick Hall, a member of the TasMen organization, and one of the founders of Community Rites of Passage program (CRoP) in Hobart.

The program we'll begin doing for young blokes is called Becoming Men. The idea for our Community Rites of Passage program, or CRoP, initially came out of a national program called Pathways to Manhood. The Pathways program did some absolutely brilliant work with men and boys over the years, now we're adapting that work at a local level to provide maximum grassroots tailoring for our community.

Many of the men and women on our core team come from the health/therapy community. We've also attracted a wider circle of supportive allies made up of a diverse collection of families from the community, men from the local TASMEN network, and women that are interested in what we're doing. Some of the women on our team are looking to eventually set up a program for girls.

Most of the organizers of CRoP have worked with boys and men in other settings. In our experience, we've all regularly encountered young males struggling to find their way toward adulthood, usually with a large degree of trial and error, and not much support. In addition, we've all encountered adult men, well into their maturation, who had become developmentally stuck in their lives, or settled into patterns which put them on a treadmill of relationship dysfunction. They had become men who were miserable, a little lost, and didn’t quite know why.

Another very troubling thing we've all seen is men in positions of power who were essentially uninitiated or partly made men. Men who have never moved out of their self-centered, boy psyche, and, because of their power and influence, have become really dangerous individuals. Men who felt they belonged on a pedestal, who are selfish, greedy, impulsive, aggressive, and creating unhappy and unsafe environments, often on a community, national, or global scale.

For the past two years we have been building up our team and developing our program approach and service delivery methods. All that planning has now come together for our very first camp late this August. It will be a three-day program for men and boys on a beautiful, remote site.

At the moment our program is for boys who are known to our community. They are young guys doing fairly well, with the "normal" range of adolescent male issues. I guess you could call it a preventative program. After we've gained some experience and consolidated our model, we'll be looking at offering some weekend slots to higher need boys and families.

At present, we have very little money. That means we've had to be very creative, resourceful, and supportive of one another. But we are united in our common vision. To a person, we love what we're creating. It’s been a whole heap of fun, even the planning stage.

Tasmania is absolutely lousy with beautiful locations, and we've been enjoying going out together, exploring possible program sites. In the process, we're imagining being there with a large group of guys, excited about doing something meaningful, hanging out under canvas and around the fire, and sharing this adventure. Most importantly, being together, and imagining the impact we'll be having on the boys . . . and the men.

Want to come join us?

If you want to join in on the fun, or simply find out how the CRoP adventure came out, send Nick Hall an email. Or better yet, send an email congratulating him and his friends for caring enough about their young people to even try to do something that is very important in the lives of emerging young men. That alone is worth of a big CONGRATS!

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