I attended a Stepping into Manhood Camp with my 16-year son and found it to be a fantastic and fun experience for both of us. I learnt a lot about myself and was able to comfortably and safely share personal feelings with a caring group of men, both young and not so young. I’m glad that my son got to hear the stories, fears, hopes, celebrations and concerns from many different men and from all walks of life. The supportive and relaxed environment ensured everyone was able to participate in whatever way they felt comfortable and with no judgements made.
I am extremely grateful for the care and thought put into the organisation and running of the camp from the Rites Together volunteers. They are a wonderful group of men who should be celebrated for their commitment to helping boys and young men navigate to the world of adulthood. The camp is a great investment in my son’s future. Mick, Father 2020
“The Rites of Passage camp … provided a safe and open environment for father and son to reconnect away from the busy and hectic day to day life, which often gets in the way of being able to discuss … what becoming a man actually means. You both have the opportunity to meet other boys at a similar stage in their life, and their fathers, and learn from the life experiences and relationships they have developed as men. The camp and the experience it provides is as much for the fathers as it is for the boys and can change lives. I would strongly encourage families to consider this opportunity” –Father, 2016
“The pace of life just seems to get faster and faster. In this time poor world, where is the place for my relationship with my son? How do we talk about the things we need to talk about? How can I help him move from boy to man? When I looked honestly, I found I did not have the means to truly begin this process…I kept kidding myself I was there for him. Through the Rite of passage program, the barriers to connection, communication, love and so many other things were opened to me and my son. The dedicated team led him through a “Rite of Passage”, sensitively moving him from boy to young man. I recommend this program to Fathers and Sons without reservation. It is professionally run and safe. It is excellent value for money. It is also a lot of fun.”–Father, 2016
“I could not recommend the Rites Together camp more highly. The dedication of the organisers was extraordinary and the camp itself provided a truly transformational experience for both my son and myself.” – Father, 2016
“…the camp was really special and one of the best I have ever been on. All of the boys really shone in their own individual ways and by the end we were proud to call them young men. I love the way they are all so different but given the right environment we get to see just how special they all are. ” – Dr Arne Rubinstein, 2015
“This camp was such a wonderful, emotional and uplifting time in our lives. We are so grateful for the work that you do and inspire so many people to take a different path and move forward to a better place. From the first day we felt that this experience was a journey not to be forgotten and felt like a new beginning about to ignite in us all. Jill and Karen radiate the love and passion of the work that they do and I felt a real connection with them both. All of the mums brought a special story to the inner circle and I felt truly blessed to be part of it. Seeing our son leave as a boy and come back as a Young Man was such a gift not only to him but to his father too. To share that special time together with such an amazing group of men has brought an inner peace to them both. A memory that will be forever in my soul along with the singing and stillness of nature as they returned. I am looking forward to a greater understanding of not only myself but the wonderful men in my life.” – Mother, 2015
“Both my son and I were excited about going on a camp. We have had a difficult relationship recently, but we were both looking forward to getting out of the daily routine. We had little idea of what to expect and could not have predicted how incredible the experience was going to be. I learned much about being a man and a father, as I had a poor role-model when I was growing up. Watching the other men with their sons was inspirational. As soon as I put into practise some of the good aspects of “being a man and father” that I had observed, my relationship with my son changed almost overnight. He is now much more confident, feels more comfortable to talk to me about what he is feeling, and I am able to express to him feelings that I normally kept private, so as not to be seen as vulnerable in his presence. My son now takes a much more active role in running his own life, and we are both able to let our guards down around each other. My wife and I feel that we understand him better, and he understands us, and we can work through our differences much more easily, even celebrate them now. What a breath of fresh air for our family. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity, which only comes once in a lifetime. The camp was truly life changing for us all.” – Father, 2015
“It has now been a week since the camp and my son and I are able to happily be in one another’s company without tension or fighting. It feels like a miracle! When things have happened at school, my son has handled the situation quite maturely which we and the teachers were impressed about, and told him so. The real surprise for me also was how my husband came home. It is like he matured a bit more or became wiser (without sounding condescending towards him). I’m not sure what it is, but I am so proud of him, he really is now a tower of strength in my family more so than before the camp. So as you can see I am so glad that I sent them on the camp, I can’t speak highly enough about your program to my friends, clients and even to the school. I am so grateful to you and your team, and am very much looking forward and hoping for a mother daughter camp in the very near future.” – Mother, 2015
A teenage participant wrote a poem spontaneously towards the end of our 2016 camp and would like to share it:
Alone on my board, alone on the sea,
Just me and the ocean, the ocean and me.
The wind, the waves and the huge blue sky
The crowds have their places, and so do I –
Amongst sharks and fishes, perched on my board with glee
Some people use drugs, but this is how I feel free.
I look to the horizon, searching for lumps
I’ve been sick for so long, haven’t surfed in many months.
Rolling in from the deep, I see six sweet waves –
I look into myself, and see my spirits raise.
My board swings towards shore, almost on its own,
The waves are getting closer, I can see chunks of white foam.
I reach into the water, and pull through strong –
This paddling rhythm beats through me like a song.
The wave’s still approaching, drawing nearer and nearer
Now when I look at my life, it seems to be clearer
And then BAM! – it’s upon me, this mutant of nature
This sucking, clawing monster – this gentle, giant creature
And for a second, just a moment, I balk at the danger
Before I’m given fresh strength with the knowledge – I’m no stranger
To this kind of feeling, this do- or die-moment
I could run scared and afraid, or push forward and own it.
I decide, as I must, to battle this foe
And live above the challenge line – saying ‘yes’ over ‘no’.
It’s the way I must live, the only way I can survive,
Always challenging and pressing, needing to feel alive.
Because without that I’m nothing, a ghost ship adrift
On an ocean of melancholy and a dread that won’t lift
Until I break through with a challenge, purpose and plan.
Because I think that, above all, is what makes me a man.