Youth Passageways is an organization born out of a diverse and emerging movement of people who recognize that consciously and deliberately initiating youth into adulthood can deeply benefit society and the biosphere.
As we come together, we are discovering the full range of approaches to youth and community development through initiatory practices, from traditional, community-based practices to modern reinventions of “rites of passage.”
The communities, people, and organizations that are part of this movement draw from traditional knowledge, modern anthropology, educational philosophies, a vast array of psycho-therapeutic ideas and methodologies, and the raw creativity of the people involved. While approaches may be different, emphasizing different ways of responding to different needs, our work includes some or all of these:
- Helping to uncover gifts, explore purpose, and cultivate true relationship with self, rather than adapt to living in dysfunctional systems.
- Transformative and holistic in approach
- Embracing the sacred realm directly, in ways that are open, accessible, and inclusive in their approach.
- Cultivating capacities for peer and intergenerational relationships; grounded in an intergenerational approach that honors the importance of mentors and elders in healthy communities.
- Connected with human initiatory traditions, informed by a rite of passage framework, and relevant to contemporary needs.
- Including and in service to the community.
- Working within a context and framework of human development through all the different life stages, from birth to death.
We believe that young people need a chance to clearly assess who they are becoming and their roles in the world as adults. They need the support of their communities in making this assessment.
The youth initiation movement is answering this call by making ways to provide meaningful and intentional initiatory experiences for youth as they travel the pathway to adulthood.
The youth initiation movement encompasses many complexities and contradictions. Ultimately, it is the work of cultural healing, and as we delve into the territory of cultural healing we inevitably uncover deep and painful wounds. Its members share deeply held values and aspirations as well as wounds and divisions arising out of the legacy of colonialism and patriarchy. Youth Passageways is founded on the faith–and our experience so far–that cooperation and healthy, respectful, introspective dialogue can vitalize all of our efforts toward creating a more harmonious world.
We invite you to join with us on this journey as we together restore and create the ways needed to nurture human beings who will help grow a healthy and sustainable human presence on this precious planet Earth.
How can I connect?
Want to help increase access to initiatory experiences for young people, but not quite sure about how you can connect or just where to begin?
There are so, so many ways to get involved! Here are some ways to get started:
- Utilize and/or add to our Resources to educate yourself and others about the theory, practice and impact of rites of passage and youth initiation.
- Find an Experience in your area for youth or for yourself.
- Find an Event on our calendar from our extended network close to your home.
- Find us on Social Media: Like us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Vimeo.
- Stay connected by signing up for our mailing list and our Google Group.
- Become a Partner. We strive to be a diverse and inclusive network, which is only as resilient as it is expansive. Join us in our efforts and take a look at what we offer to and ask of our partners. Becoming a partner allows you access to engage in our forums and partner-only conversations!
- Already a Partner!? Get listed! Consider adding your work to our database and help us supply as comprehensive and inclusive a network as possible. Create your listing here. We also need your amazing program images, stories and estimated number of youth your offerings reach per year. We would like to help you share your story as well as create a full image of the reach of our shared work.
- Start a study circle in your community, exploring topics related to youth initiation and rites of passage through the lifespan. This is how many community-based rites of passage emerge. Post your study circle event to our calendar!
- Tell teens and their parents about rites of passage, and about Youth Passageways. One of the key ways we improve access to rites of passage and youth initiation is through our searchable database of youth initiation experiences.
- Give financial support. You can make a tax-deductible gift to Youth Passageways in support of our efforts to support rites of passage and youth initiation, or you can find a program, organization, or community to support directly through our searchable database.
- Advocate for rites of passage with your school district, church, local, state or national government, or non-governmental organizations you may influence with.