Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Boys to Men weekend?
The Right Of Passage Adventure is a powerful social experience that feels very different to school, to family, and any comparable programmes such as a school camp. The weekend is designed according to Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” framework, and each day of the weekend has a theme:
Friday: WHO I AM NOW?
Saturday: WHO DO I WANT TO BE?
Sunday: CHOOSING THE MAN I WILL BECOME
This Rite of Passage Adventure (ROPA) weekend is led by experienced facilitators and trained staff, as well as other new volunteers, all of who of carefully screened.
During the weekend, boys are challenged and supported through a series of carefully facilitated activities designed to bring out their feelings in a safe way.
This creates a powerful experience that helps boys cope with the ordeals they will face or are already facing, during their adolescence.
They learn about integrity. They bond with a tribe. They learn about mission and service.
The weekend is a life-changing experience boys never forget.
2. Do you have any religious affiliations?
No, BTM has no religious affiliation or religious teachings. We support each boy’s individual spiritual and cultural tradition and journey.
3. What is the age group you work with?
Every boy between the age of 13 and 18 is eligible, with flexibility in those boundaries.
4. How are Mentors selected?
Each prospective mentor goes through training process, a thorough background check, and many of our mentors continue with our on-going mentor development process.
5. Is this project for fatherless boys?
No! The BTM program helps boys become better men. All boys need more good men in their lives, including those who have good fathers. We are like a large circle of uncles stepping up in service and support.
6. Do you break down the boys emotionally in order to build him up again?
No! We affirm the gifts and dreams and beauty in each boy. We model respectful communication, deep listening and deeply authentic honesty and invite each boy to do the same. Our boys appreciate the safety and authentic honesty and confidentiality they have seldom experienced before. This is why they keep coming back.
7. What is your goal with each individual boy?
The BTM experience gives young men higher self-esteem, empowered sense of self, and a greater capacity for compassion and empathy. Our desired outcomes are to produce boys who become leaders, productive citizens, successful businessmen, gainfully employed, educated, managing their emotions, and participating actively in their families. We do NOT, however, have any fixed picture of what a man should look like: we invite each boy to discover that for himself.
8. How do you hope to positively influence their lives?
The main component of our programme is honesty and truth. We go to great length to allow the boys to feel safe and supported. When a young man introspects, shares honestly about what is going on in his life, he comes to see how his behaviour is affecting himself and those around him, and he discovers the journey to maturity becomes clearer and more easily attainable than he previously imagined.
9. How do boys usually hear about your programme?
Mostly word of mouth. We do not fit into the usual services available, since our programme is neither school nor is it psychotherapy. And yet, it is educational and meaningful to both the volunteer mentors and the teenage participants.
10. Where do you have BTM locations?
Boys to Men Trainings are offered in the following centres:
Cape Town, Johannesburg.
11. What does a BTM mentor do?
A BTM mentor is a personal ally and supporter. A mentor is not a teacher or surrogate parent, or a man who has solved all the problems but a role model and an uncle who is also on a quest for maturity and wisdom himself. If you’re interested to serve as such a role model journeying on a personal quest towards your own ideals, and are willing to be seen to be doing so, you are a mentor in our eyes. A BTM mentor commits his participation for at least one year, and staffs in a circle of teenage boys and men on a regular basis.
12. Why should I volunteer as a mentor?
Our mentors get as much meaning from BTM than our younger participants. And there are many levels of time commitment made by men involved in Boys to Men. We’re looking for good men who are already successful in their own lives. We also provide a powerful mentoring training for men we call “Reclaiming Your Teenage Fire.”
13. What happens on the Boys’ Adventure Passage Weekend?
There are games, challenging activities, discussion circles, and celebrations of victory. We’ll share the full agenda for the weekend with parents who wish to know them, but we won’t tell the boys the specifics of the agenda since it would dilute the effectiveness of the processes. Often the boys open up their deep issues to find acceptance, witnessing, and support. At the end they are celebrated for their successes and asked to commit to their own path to manhood in a powerful way.
14. What’s next for Boys after the weekend?
Any young man who has completed his Rite of Passage Adventure (ROPA) is called a Journeyman in Boys to Men. We see him as a boy no more, but he is not yet a man – so he is a journeyman. He is invited to a variety of other activities, including a mentoring circle called a j-group, where we do lots of fun activities, emotional awareness activities, leadership development, and gaining a sense of mission in our lives. Also each Journeyman is invited to apply to staff on other ROPAs to bring new boys through the experience.
As far as is possible, if an applicant is sincerely interested in our work, we do not refuse anyone on financial grounds. We do however screen applicants for emotional readiness.
Rite of Passage Adventure weekend: Initiates - R2,200.00 including all costs
Teenage staff and staffmen - R850.00 including all costs
Reclaim your Teenage Fire: (in Jo’burg) R650.00 (bring and share meals).
Facilitator Skills trainings (in Jo’burg): R650.00 (bring and share meals)
One year’s J-group attendance: (fortnightly) R500.00 for food (Plus donation invited for BTM costs)
The costs of our trainings are considerable and cash flow is always extremely tight. Your donations will help pay bursaries to boys who would otherwise not be able to join our growing community.