‘Young Men, Old Mountains’
The Outdoor Education Group, along with our wonderful partners believe that young men living in regional communities need to be provided with opportunities to really test themselves, to embrace risk and uncertainty in a well-supported environment, and to be physically and emotionally challenged. Further, we believe that their reflections on these challenges should be professionally facilitated. It was for these reasons that we created The Outdoor Education Group’s “Young Men, Old Mountains” programs, resulting in ten and five day extended outdoor education programs in the rugged and challenging High Country of Victoria.
Whether it be on the ten day senior boys journey, or the five day junior boys trip, these programs are designed to serve our young men by supporting them to personally experience the sense of reward and pride that often accompanies such physical and emotional challenge. Through traversing the beautiful Victorian High Country by foot, mountain bike, setting up camp, cooking food and spending time alone through solo experiences, the young men will be out of their comfort zones and many will be experiencing such challenges for the first time. This environment does not offer an immediate ‘leave pass’ – what does accompany such a commitment however is a genuine sense of realness. The boys are provided, through their experience, with a genuine and highly supported opportunity to endure the uncomfortable and not be able to abandon ship when the going gets tough. The rewards for such commitment on their part however, is an genuine sense of achievement that can only come with voluntarily attempting and persevering with something difficult, alongside their mates.
The “Young Men, Old Mountains” program aims to honour the important factors we realise, from both experience and research, that play a critical aspect in young men’s positive development and that serve their constructive transition into manhood. One highly significant factor is the connection of younger men to older men; specifically the importance of positive, present and strong role models in their lives. For this reason, we ask the young men to invite a significant male in their lives to join them on the last night of the ten day journey. Through spending the night, sharing a meal and exchanging stories of their experience, a space is created for the telling and hearing of perspectives of the journey into manhood. Such discussions have been highly influential and memorable for both the young, and old men alike.
By participating in a fully facilitated program with a specifically designed curriculum, the young men will be able to reflect on the characteristics of a ‘good man’ and be warmly invited to consider their own path into manhood. Our roles as educators, leaders and facilitators is to help them do just that, to walk supportively, yet softly beside them as they face the unknown, the challenging, and ultimately, embracing the opportunities that emerge as a direct result of their participation.
For more information on The Outdoor Education Group’s “Young Men, Old Mountains” programs, and to hear directly from the experiences of some of the young men themselves, please click here.
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