Adventure and Challenge
A wilderness journey to adulthood
by Henry Poole
Last year I ran across some research that discussed the history of rite of passage into manhood for boys. Recalling my experience of growing up in the 70s and 80s, I felt an “aha” while reading about the history of male maturing. For thousands of years, growing up for boys had involved rituals to help them gain self confidence by having to confront challenges that allowed them to recognize their need to increase their level of responsibility and feel proud of their growth. Where they obtained true grit. As a twentieth century American male, I had missed this opportunity.
I decided that I wanted something different from my rocky, awkward growth for my two boys, so I began researching teen adventure survival camps. I was looking for something that would give them a dose of reality but be fun. Something that could build a sense of pride in their ability to survive and thrive. Something that could help them realize that they were on the trail to becoming young men and needed guidance and understanding on this difficult path to manhood. My research led me to Lifesong Wilderness Adventures and Mark Wienert.
Rite of Passage for Teens
Last summer, my first teenage boy, Aidan, attended a program with Mark. He left behind all of his screens (computer, xbox, and phone), his friends, and his old habits. During that week he overcame some deep addictions to our modern life and learned that just being himself and sharing himself with others of the group, empowered his sense of self-worth and personal power. I’ve become friends with Mark Wienert and have seen the positive impact he has had for numerous young people. I would recommend his summer program to anyone with a teenage boy who is struggling to become himself.
Henry’s son Aidan, took our week long teen summer adventure for ages 14-15, in 2012. Oliver, Aidan’s younger brother, took Lifesong’s 14 day teen adventure camp, July 2015. If you are interested in learning more about our summer program for teens please visit the Teen Camp page of our website. Henry Poole is a father, husband, and a strategy consultant for Civic Actions.