Rites of Passage Adventure Week-end (ROPAW) for Boys: Images

The Journeymen Rites Of Passage Adventure Weekend (ROPAW) is designed to challenge participants physically and emotionally. Boys are encouraged to look at and share feelings that they may have never acknowledged before. During the weekend, the initiate becomes known as a “Journeyman,” a young man on his journey to manhood.

Journeymen (in Asheville) conducts two Rites of Passage Adventure Weekends each year, one in the spring and one in the fall.


Rites of passage have played an important role in many cultures for thousands of years. A primary function of any rite of passage is to allow children to choose a new adult identity in their community. Adults help to facilitate this process, and help them gain the skills and understanding that they will need to fulfill their potential as members of the community.

The isolation in a primitive setting removes participants from the routines and patterns of their lives so that they can “re-create” themselves. They are given the opportunity to let go of old patterns that might no longer serve them.

Our weekend incorporates physical, mental, and emotional tests. These tests help the initiate discover inner resources that he was previously unaware of, helping him gain new self-respect and confidence. In our weekend events, the tests are challenging, but do not involve winning and losing, which we believe could create the potential for shame. Each initiate has the opportunity to test himself in ways that build self-esteem and facilitate growth.

The specific processes used at a rite of passage are kept confidential, so that younger members of the community do not receive the adult information before they are ready. A rite of passage is considered sacred and personal and should not be treated casually. Also, Journeymen’s ROPAW relies on a degree of theater, surprise, and spontaneous response that would be lost if participants knew in advance what was going to happen. (We will share all information with the parents/guardian of the initiate, asking that this information be kept in confidence).

Following a traditional rite of passage, a young man’s family and community often celebrate his change of status with a welcome home ceremony, which usually involves some form of sharing food together. Following Journeymen’s ROPAW, young men who participate are welcome as well to join a local J-Group (or regular meeting of Journeymen and mentors) that provides a safe place and time for check-ins, growth challenges, a space to sort through trials, fun and of course: mentoring by peers and a group of mentors.

Young men who are accomplished Jmen (Journeymen) are encouraged to return and staff the ROPAW as a way to participate and benefit further from this community building event.

Any man who passes a screening process, including a criminal background check, may be considered to staff a rite of passage event.

If you have questions regarding the next upcoming ROPAW in Asheville, please contact:

Jonathan Pulsifer

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  • This blog is the personal expression of MadMan Bowman and some of his friends. It is not owned, operated, supported or associated with AMC or the actual Mad Men TV show, or Banana Republic in any way, shape or form.
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