One week ago today marked the close of yet another successful, and more importantly, significant “Prepared for Manhood” Father-Son Adventure experiences. Because we do so many Adventure Weekend experiences (for boys & girls aged between 7 & 13 years), and because those experiences are always so much more powerful than one ever expects, I myself can tend to forget just how incredibly life-changing and life-giving our “Prepared for Manhood” Father-Son Adventure experiences actually are.
We had a full contingent of twelve (12) Father-Son pairs join us for their adventure of a lifetime, and once again, they came from all over Australia, and the world. Two (2) father-son pairs flew Down Under from Washington State in the U.S.A. (Seattle and Spokane), five (5) father-son pairs flew North from Victoria (2 pairs from Melbourne, one pair from Ballarat, & 2 more pairs from Wodonga), two (2) pairs flew North from New South Wales (one pair from Sydney, and the other pair from Wollongong), and finally three (3) pairs joined us from Queensland (2 pairs flew North from Brisbane, and just one pair were Townsville locals).
In total, five (5) of those twelve (12) fathers had experienced one of our adventures prior to this one.
Two (2) of the Dads had brought their eldest sons to a previous “Prepared for Manhood” Father-Son Adventure experience, and three (3) of them had brought their youngest sons to a previous “Fathering Boys” Father-Son Adventure Weekend experience. So that was a real compliment in itself… it’s not just us as ‘Fathering Adventures’ who believe that we’re doing something incredible… helping to strengthen lives, relationships, and families… the very fabric of our society.
Our “Prepared for Manhood” Father-Son Adventure experiences have been designed to fulfill a 2-fold purpose:
- To deepen and strengthen the relationship and bond between a Dad and his son, which is foundational for everything else, and
- To provide an environment where a father can successfully guide his son out of boyhood (no matter how old the son may be), and into young manhood, or authentic manhood… a rite-of-passage experience if you will.
So what are some of the things that we do to achieve a richer relationship between a father and son?
Firstly we ensure that
these experiences are
FUN, enjoyable and exciting, set in the midst of great beauty… reefs, rainforests, mountains, rivers, islands, and beaches. I mean let’s be completely honest Dads. How much fun are we to be around for the most-part? When was the last time you had fun with your son? When was the last time you had fun yourself? Secondly, you intentionally have TIME together… sharing experiences together… just the two of you. No distractions, and no greater priority… at least whilst you’re with us. And finally, there are intimate moments shared together… times where each Dad really affirms his son (after being coached first of course), and then an intentional discussion over lunch on the day of the hike.
And what do we do to assist the Dads in guiding their sons out of boyhood, and into young manhood, or authentic manhood, depending on their age? Firstly, we provide a community of men… made up of every father and son present. Secondly, most of what we do is done in the outdoors. As much fun as each of our outdoor adventures are, the majority of them also provide a degree of testing and challenging… necessary for a boy to have his core question “Do I have what it takes?”, answered well, and done so once again, within a community of men. Thirdly, we provide training & instruction… multimedia presentations each evening that speak into the relationship and roles of fathers & sons, and the difference between conventional manhood (still a form of boyhood really) and authentic manhood etc. And finally, the week culminates in a form of ceremony… where each Dad is given the opportunity (once again after receiving some coaching beforehand) to officially call his son up and into either young manhood or authentic manhood (depending on the age of the son of course)… thereby initiating him… providing a moment in time that his son can point to, as being the moment he left boyhood behind.
Anyhow, enough about what we do and why we do it… let’s now hear from a number of the fathers and sons, and what they had to say about their recent “Prepared for Manhood” Father-Son Adventure experience experience… followed by some links to more photographs.
Feedback from the Sons
“This experience has meant a lot to me. It has been a wonderful time with my Dad. My favourite memories were talking to my Dad on the hike, and the initiation ceremony.” (Mitchell – Age 16 – Melbourne, VIC)
“This experience has meant a lot more to me than I thought it would. I got to know my Dad more. I learnt a lot about myself, the good qualities I already have, and the qualities I need to improve on to become a better man. I loved scuba diving on the reef, and I loved meeting new people who I’ll never forget. I learnt many, many, many things this week, but if I were to summarize, I now know what a real man is, and I now know how to overcome youth and its challenges .” (Shaun – Age 15 – Townsville, QLD)
“This week was an opportunity to connect more with my father, thus resulting in a greater love and understanding of one another . White-Water Rafting was my favourite adventure activity, especially the way that our crew had to work together as a team.” (William – Age 15 – Ballarat, VIC)
“This experience has meant a tonne to me. I found out things about myself I never knew, and I found a strong foundation for my relationship with my Dad. I have grown as much as a young man could grow in just 5 nights / 6 days. The best part about this week for me was all of the time I had with my Dad, the time with friends, and the white-water rafting.” (Ben – Age 14 – Melbourne, VIC)
“This week had a lot of activities which I greatly enjoyed, and it was a chance to hang with my Dad for a while. I loved scuba diving and white-water rafting.” (Nate – Age 14 – Seattle, WA, U.S.A.)
“This week has meant so much. I have formed a stronger relationship with my father. My favourite part of this week was spending time with my father. To bond with him and to hear him say that he is proud of me meant so much. I have also become more confident in myself. I have also come closer to God due to Ben from Melbourne, one of the sons on this camp. He helped me to realise that I don’t need material possessions to be “happy”. I need God. He is proud of his faith and talked to me about how he does not care what he looks like, or what others think of him. He inspired me to form a stronger relationship with God. I learnt this week that I need to believe in myself, and venture outside my comfort zone. Thank you for an amazing week.” (Jake – Age 13 – Wodonga, VIC)
Feedback from the Dads
“This experience has actually revealed to me just how much I really love my son. Without question, my favourite memory was when I affirmed my son in front of all of the other fathers.” (Mark V. – Age 55 – Brisbane, QLD)
“This week has been a great opportunity to spend time with my son… to see more of his spirit, and to learn more about myself. I loved the white-water rafting, the mountain talk, and the initiation ceremony. I’ve come to realise that I need to step up, speak up, and be more intentional.” (Mark M. – Age 52 – Brisbane, QLD)
“This week has given me the opportunity to better connect with my son, and to learn more about being an authentic man. It was also a great adventure and a holiday. I loved having the opportunity to affirm my son. I enjoyed every aspect of this experience… the people, the activities, and the learning. I have learnt to be a better man / father, and the importance of spending more and more quality time with my son.” (Barry – Age 51 – Sydney, N.S.W.)
“This experience has impressed on me the value of being a father and the need to lead and guide my son into how to be an authentic man. This has helped my son and I communicate more closely that we have ever done so before.” (Greg – Age 51 – Ballarat, VIC)
“This has been a great time. Tiring, but fun and stimulating. It’s been so much more than just a vacation, and it’s been a good introduction to manhood for my son. I loved the white-water rafting, and seeing my son so happy after his first scuba dive.” (Martin – Age 51 – Seattle, WA, U.S.A.)
“This has been a special time in my life to create a memorable experience with my son – beyond just the fun, but also to deal with some meaningful issues, such as calling my son to his future.” (Robert – Age 46 – Wodonga, VIC)
“This experience has met and exceeded my hopes yet again. It has provided a space to enable me to reveal more of me to him, and to discover more of him. It has allowed me to direct him, encourage him, affirm him, and see him emerge as more of the man he was meant to be. I loved seeing the tears in my son’s eyes when I affirmed him, and the amazing letter he wrote to me. It has deepened our bond as father & son.” (Peter – Age 45 – Melbourne, VIC)
“This week has helped me to connect with my son and to show him the way to young manhood in a way that I couldn’t have done otherwise. The initiation ceremony will remain in my memory forever.” (Shane – Age 43 – Wodonga, VIC)
“This week has been a wonderful time with my eldest son, great adventure, time with great men, excellent instruction on manhood, and in particular an outstanding opportunity to affirm my son in such a significant way and call him forward into manhood. I learnt more about manhood and fatherhood, and I got to know my son even better, even though I had already been quite intentional and shared a great relationship with him.” (Clive – Age 43 – Melbourne, VIC)
“This experience has been a time to invest in my son and the next generation. It’s been an opportunity to have fun time with him and deepen our relationship and friendship.” (Kobus – Age 39 – Townsville, QLD)
See our photo albums containing many more pictures of the week’s adventures:
1. Tully River White-Water Rafting photos
2. Snorkeling out on the Great Barrier Reef
3. Sea Kayaking between South Mission Beach & Dunk Island
4. Hiking to the summit of Bicton Hill
5. Where we called home during this recent “Prepared for Manhood” Father-Son Adventure experience