Thinking About Enrolling For Our Young Men’s Summer Wilderness Intensive?
Prepare yourself for what it takes to experience real and meaningful change.
Discover a new way to be alive to the world.
What To Know About Our Transformative Learning Experiences
“A vital person vitalizes the world he lives in.”
– Joseph Campbell
Our Work Is Done In Service & Support of Meaningful, Authentic, & Vital Living.
HERE’S WHAT MAKES OUR JOURNEY INTENSIVES TRANSFORMATIVE
1. WE FULLY ENTER INTO LIVING THE MYTH OF THE HERO’S JOURNEY
Our staff is highly trained in this very particular type of transformational process. It is based on the myth of the Hero’s Journey®, as articulated through the work of Joseph Campbell. We fully embrace the three essential phases of this journey – SEPARATION – INITIATION – RETURN – over the course of seven days.
People begin their journey by taking leave of everything that is familiar, routine, and known. They enter into the adventures and ordeals of doing what it takes to arrive at our secluded, remote location in West Virginia. People typically travel from across the United States, Canada, South America & Europe to attend our Journeys, so the travel aspect is an important part of the experience.
Upon arrival, participants leave behind all sense of time and live as fully as possible into the immediacy of each moment. They begin the process of shedding what they know, in order to make room for what will come next on the adventure. Joseph Campbell often said, “We must be willing to get rid of the life that we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
Our Journey Intensives engage the depth and authenticity of deeply impactful experiences that happen organically over the course of time, in a way that leaves an indelible mark on each person who gives themselves over fully to the Hero’s Journey myth. Over the course of one week’s time, we enter into powerful experiences and unfolding synchronistic encounters, supported by the natural elements provided within the majestic setting we are immersed in. Young men will be supported by each other and by the men’s community at large. It is a crucial developmental step for young men, to experience authentic engaged contact with men who have journeyed farther, both inward and outward, in their lives already. The young man will have a deeper sense of what is possible in forging their own lives and gain more capacity to forge ahead.
HERE’S WHAT MAKES OUR JOURNEY INTENSIVES VITAL
2. WE ARE UNIQUELY SITUATED WITHIN A VAST, MAJESTIC AND REMOTE NATURE SETTING
Nature, and the remoteness of wilderness, is an important experiential teacher, mirror and container for supporting an individual’s ability to enter more fully into their own depths, and find meaning and vitality there. A majestic setting – remote, vast and private – allows for a sense of wonder, and a deepening intimacy with oneself and the land.
We have wide open plains, wooded, moss-covered mountain forests and streams, backwoods caves, mountain peaks, sheer cliffs, and fields of wildflowers and berries. We have ever-changing weather and temperature patterns that reflect the ever-changing moods of our human experiences. We have vistas the provide inspiration and deep reflection, and hiking trails that allow us to make our way into unknown & unexplored territory.
We are also quite fortunate to be able to provide open outdoor fires, a rarity in today’s climate-changing conditions. We have three separate areas that support our ability to create beautiful and ceremonial fires – in the woods, in our meadow, and on our high mountain plain.
HERE’S WHAT MAKES OUR JOURNEY INTENSIVES SO ENLIVENING & JOYFUL
3. WE HAVE A COMMUNITY OF MEN WHO ARE PLAYFUL & WISE. THEY STRIVE TO BE HUMBLE & REAL. THEY CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE THAT IS LIGHTHEARTED AND CAN GO IN DEEP.
The stewarding team provides all the ambiance that makes the journey come alive with warmth, companionship, and care. They provide us with all the nourishing and nutritious meals we need. They provide all the logistical, physical, and emotional support for all the experiences that take place. They are supportive, engaging, and useful with all of our participants. And they are all participating in their own individual journeys at the same time, as well.
We are quite literally ‘all in it together’. We share in one another’s sorrows and joys of living, as we all strive to be in the world as it is. We learn to change ourselves, and we don’t try to fix others or the world. When we let go of trying to be helpers, we can more genuinely accompany others through their adventures and ordeals.
This kind of accompanying allows us to become allies to one another. We serve one another as ‘active witnesses’ who can listen and see without needing to fix, which in turn, allows others to see themselves and the world around them with new eyes, and a capable, willing heart.
HERE’S WHAT MAKES OUR JOURNEY INTENSIVES SO PROFOUND
4. Our Skillfully Facilitated Men’s Groups Are Transformational Tools
It’s been said that ‘a rising tide lifts every boat’. Each young man who enters the transformative vessel of the ally group experience becomes an essential contributor to the journey of every other man. Each person’s presence becomes an important part of the group, and yet each man also stands a part from the group at times, becoming a distinctly individual and unique presence. We go back and forth between these two learning positions, while being among such an essential collection of diverse men.
Conversations, honest feedback, deep exchanges, being side-by-side, going through experiences together – all of this happens by focusing on what can be spoken and seen in a group like this, things unlikely to be heard of spoken or witnessed anywhere else in a young man’s life.
Bonds are forged, personal limiting patterns are addressed and shed, new possibilities come forward to be considered that are life-giving, new opportunities are provided and new risks are taken, learning happens – and a new orientation to one’s own future begins it’s germination.
If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting for you,
and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living.
When you can see that, you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you.
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open
where you didn’t know they were going to be.
If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t
have opened for anyone else.
The high plains vista from our base camp site in West Virginia
The real reason to go on a journey of transformation is to become more than who you already are.
All images are from our program experiencs at our base camp or nearby in Spruce Knob, WV