On some of the camps we have run, over half the boys are brought by men who are not their fathers. This is a sad insight into the extent of the breakdown in families. But on a positive note, it is a great sign that there are men in the community who are prepared to step up and support boys whose fathers are not present. While of course, it would be great if every boy could come on a program with his dad the reality is that it simply is not always going to happen. That does not mean we cannot create a meaningful Rite of Passage for these boys. I have seen countless boys without fathers benefit enormously from attending with a mentor. I hope that more men will become involved in this work so that all boys can attend programs and be supported on their journey to become men.
Now that we have an understanding of why a properly-run and facilitated Boy-to-Man Rites of Passage programs are necessary – and what can happen when parents and carers don’t get involved – let’s look at how we can make successful ROPs a reality.