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four key areas of growth

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Father & Son - Course #1 2012

Rite of Passage

Most fundamentally, a rite of passage marks that season of life when a boy or girl is able to bear children. A rite of passage marks the child’s entry into manhood or womanhood. Of course, there is still a lot of growing and maturing for the new young man or woman. However, a rite of passage sets the stage so that they can grow into who they are – an adult, a godly man or woman.

Though Christians do not have a traditional rite of passage, we can learn from our spiritual relative: the Jewish tradition of the Bar-Mitzvah. As the name of the rite specifies, the boy has become a Son of the Commandment. As a man, he has certain privileges and responsibilities. For example, he is now spiritually responsible for his actions before God, is able, according to Jewish law, to enter into marriage, and may read from the scriptures in synagogue service.

Christian boys and girls can benefit greatly from a rite of passage. Done well, it can prevent much of the damage that occurs during those teen years that the brothers Harris call, “the myth of adolescence” in their book, Do Hard Things. A rite of passage can help the young man or woman focus on enjoying the privileges and godly freedom of adulthood and on growing in the areas that they need to develop, rather than pursuing pleasure as our culture demands.

There are four key areas of growth where the new adult needs to focus: knowledge, experience, wisdom, and physical maturity. We believe that we can help your son grow in these areas and set him on the path of following God in the midst of our ungodly culture and being a leader in his generation.





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three-phase course

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Course Description

Phase I - Biblical Exposure

The Preparation Phase equips your sons with the most important content of the course – God’s Word. Since a man of God is a man of God’s Word, our desire is to expose your sons to the entire bible over the course of the three phases. Requirements before going on the wilderness expedition:

  • Read Genesis thru 1 Kings 2:3
  • Read Psalms 19 and 119
  • Read the Gospel of Mark
  • Read Paul's letters: Romans thru Philemon
  • Memorize THIRST passages
  • Raise and/or Earn money to pay for the course
  • Prepare for their return
  • (Dads, that you provide aptitude and vocational testing for your son comes with our strongest recommendation.)
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experience to remember

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vintage passage

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Phase II - Wilderness Immersion

The Separation Phase takes the boys away from the routines and comforts of boyhood. This is the heart of the course. Being in the wilderness presents opportunities to face new experiences and trials as a man – by trusting in God’s word and relying on the Holy Spirit to bring them through.

They will walk nearly 50 miles over their 6 days in the wilderness carrying little more than a knife, wool blanket, tarp and a few other items. They will walk on mountain ridges and along rivers, they will cross streams and climb peaks, sleeping under the stars every night. They will experience cold, hunger and physical exhaustion. By the end of the wilderness phase we will begin to see genuine thankfulness, humility and confidence emerging in their character. It will be an experience that they will remember with pride for the rest of their lives, a continual reminder of the strength that God provides. On our last day in the field, we will have a ceremony to commemorate their wilderness passage into manhood. You and your sons will:

  • Experience a genuine wilderness immersion
  • Carry little more than a knife, blanket, tarp and water bottle
  • Walk nearly 50 miles over the six days
  • Learn Leave No Trace principles
  • Learn skills to live safely and comfortably in the wild
  • Learn basic Christian and outdoor leadership
  • Receive teaching on the key roles of men in the bible
  • Receive teaching on the biblical characteristics of a Man of God
  • Learn to face trials according to God’s word and to rely on the Holy Spirit
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disciple your son

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Phase III - Entry Into Manhood

The Re-Integration Phase welcomes your son back into his world as a New Man. This phase allows him to experience the privileges and responsibilities of being a man in his home, church, and in his community. This is a critical phase... Planning and carrying out this phase well will help insure that the benefits obtained in the wilderness and the significance of his passage will have lasting effects. We will send you a list of suggestions to help you prepare for his return and to help you continue to disciple your son into adult manhood. Some suggestions include:

  • Encouraging him in his efforts to get a part-time job
  • Maintaining a checking account
  • Serving others in the church and community
  • Contributing to the household by carrying out specific responsibilities or paying a nominal rent
  • Completing his read-thru of the bible
  • Pursuing experience, employment, and education in your area of gifting (aptitudes)

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Opportunities For Graduates

Graduates who have demonstrated leadership and maturity in our core curriculum during the wilderness portion of the course (Trust, Humility, Intimacy, Renewed Mind, Service and Thankfulness), who have conducted themselves well, and have proven to be God-gifted encouragers, may be invited to join future courses as paid staff or leaders.

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God is not a stern drill instructor

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What We Are Not

Wilderness Passage is not a Boot Camp style ministry. The expedition phase is an extended physical parable of the trials and joys of life’s journey. God is not a stern drill instructor constantly yelling at and threatening His children. He is our loving Father who sends his Spirit to come alongside us in our journey. The Holy Spirit reminds us of His promises and encourages us to trust Him as He shares His strength, so that we can do the Father’s will. Our aim and our prayer is that the Spirit will be ministering the loving encouragement and grace of the Father through us to your sons on their wilderness passage.

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a couple ounces of prevention

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Fitness & Safety

FITNESS

A couple ounces of prevention will go a long way on our course. It will be a challenge for everyone, including the dads - and maybe even more so. Everyone should train for at least two weeks before the course. Dads, you will do well to invest a month in getting ready for the rigors of the course. Since we will be climbing peaks, crossing creeks, side hill contouring, and putting in 10 plus miles most days, all while hungry, tired, thirsty or hot, it will serve you well to walk, bike or hill climb every other day for 2-4 weeks. Weight lifting is not as important as general endurance for this type of course. If you come with leg muscles that are ready for the challenge, that will help your attitude be in top shape too.

SAFETY

Remember, this is a WILDerness course. So we cannot offer it as a risk-free experience. Like all of life, it is in the control of another. The wilderness portion of your passage is designed to instill trust in the One who sustains us and holds all things together. Nevertheless, we are very safety-conscious and seek to act wisely in all of our decision-making in order to get back safely and provide a life-changing experience for all.

Each of our instructors are certified by the Wilderness Medicine Institute in Wilderness First Aid.

 
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Cost

PRICE: $1,000 per father/son team*
(*As part of the course, each young man is responsible
to earn half of the fee by his own labors.)