Rites of Passage

Last week, the first group of Year 10 students completed the 9/10 B2M program by participating in the Rites of Passage camp. Under the guidance of Dr Arne Rubenstein, a team of world-class facilitators from the Rites of Passage Institute and a dedicated team of BGS teachers and Outdoor Ed staff, the boys and fathers/male mentors left on Tuesday and a community of men returned on Friday afternoon. These students now move into Year 11 to lead the school as ‘young men’.

The Rites of Passage camp is designed to mark the point in a boy’s life when he becomes a young man. Separation, transition and return are the key features of any rite of passage. For our community, the ‘separation’ occurred in a moving ceremony on Tuesday morning, when the mothers/female mentors let the boys go, and the boys and fathers/male mentors headed off to camp. ‘Transition’ took place on the camp – community was established; the men shared stories, values and beliefs; the boys undertook a challenge, were honoured for their unique gifts and talents, and set a vision for their future as men.

The whole community was strengthened through the shared experience. Many fathers have made new and real friendships, both with other fathers and with other young men. And many of the young men have a new and deeper respect for and knowledge of their fathers, and of the other members of the community.

On Friday afternoon, the entire group returned to the BGS community and were reunited with their families. The students were able to reconnect with their mothers, as young men rather than boys. They shared some of their experience – in particular, the young men spoke about how they plan to change and how they need their families to both enable and allow them to do this. The mothers were honoured in song, the Headmaster delivered an emotional address, and the community was celebrated as a whole and then shared an afternoon tea together.

Thank you to all those families who were able to interrupt ‘normal’ life and participate. For many, it was a leap of faith. Early feedback suggests that this was a truly transformational experience for many participants. Congratulations to all the students who participated – we look forward to supporting you in your endeavours to be the best young men you can be in the years ahead.