The intention for the camp is to create a safe, thoughtful and supportive environment within which a ceremony for the boys and men marks their conscious passage from boyhood to manhood. The ceremony and knowledge incorporates many different backgrounds, experiences, interests and points of view. It is earth based (outdoors in nature) and incorporates both contemporary and ancient insights that give participants solid tools for a safe and confident transition into adulthood. There are some challenging times but everyone is fully supported providing a safe opportunity to grow and thrive to reach ones potential. It can be a deeply meaningful experience.
There is a very clear recognised need for an alternative to drunken parties, drug taking, gangs or involvement in crime. All participants are engaged in a fun, adventurous and safe environment among men.
The event is a dynamic process that continually evolves through the accumulated and collective experiences and insights of those attending and facilitating.
The content of the weekend is not secret but is sacred to the group in order to maintain the mystery and importance of such a transition for all future participants.
The process of the weekend requires that we separate ourselves from our everyday lives. So we head off to a secluded bush camp where the facilities are basic but the natural environment vital.
The core of the weekend is based on:
- The understanding that the boys who are transitioning into adulthood benefit from the active participation of older men
- An understanding that adult men benefit from the acceptance of other men who validate their experience with respect and without judgment.
The program’s strength in achieving positive outcomes is the unique and supportive environment which facilitates open expression and reflection. Personal experiences are shared and met with acceptance, free from judgments, thus validating the worth of each person’s story.
The weekend is full and challenging, though rest assured there is no animal sacrifice, no drawing of blood, no competitiveness or rampant machismo and no vows of allegiance. You share, listen and contribute in a safe and supportive environment as much as you are willing to.
Ceremony is a significant part of the weekend’s experience as it offers a unique way to mark the important transition into manhood as well as raising the question of who are you as a man. For the boys this occurs around the time of their actual transition from boyhood to adulthood. For the men it is a way to acknowledge or claim back their own transition which may have occurred many years ago with or without ceremony.
Castlemaine Rites of Passage facilitates growth by:
- creating a sense of community
- public acknowledgement of the boy by his father and/or other men
- allowing boys to hear the stories of older men
- modeling respect as a primary learning tool
- challenging the boy to determine his own future; to be a positive, responsible member of his community and to live his life to its fullest potential
- creating a community celebration upon the return of the young men
- setting up of an ongoing supportive environment
- making sure all men who attend are aware that they are doing so not only for the boy they come with but also for every other boy and man in attendance.
As a whole, the weekend can generate profound personal insight enabling the individual to know more about who they are and the type of man they want to be. It can also inspire courage to act more consciously in areas of life such as relationships, family, work and spirituality.