1. What will my daughter get out of this program?
- Gender empowerment (confidence and pride in being a young woman)
- A deep sense of belonging and being accepted for who she is
- A greater understanding of herself, her body and what’s important to her
- Valuable friendships
- Long-term, individualized mentoring & support
- An empowering coming-of-age ceremony
- Guided nature connection
2. Are transgender girls welcome?
Anyone who self-identifies as a girl, aged 12-14 is welcome.
3. Is this program just for certain types of girls?
NO! This program is for all girls. We are unified as girls/women AND each unique in our own right. A major component to coming-of-age is discovering one’s unique gifts and bringing them into the world. It’s not possible for us to be the same! Every girl is different and we want that represented in our group. We will all learn from each other and recognize the strength in our diversity.
4. My daughter is 11 and I’d love for her to join. Is this possible?
We are accepting mature 11-yr olds as age does not necessarily determine readiness and fit for this program. If you believe your daughter is ready for her coming-of-age (moving into and being recognized as a young woman), please contact us.
5. Will my daughter get to choose her mentor, and what will they do together? What’s your screening process for mentors?
Yes, each participant will choose who she wants for her mentor at the first session. This will be facilitated in a respectful, confidential way. From there, they can choose how they want to connect, which could be a mixture of hanging out, going on walks, doing fun activities, skype/phone calls, etc. They will connect once a week until her ceremony, after which, they can decide on their preferred frequency (weekly, biweekly, etc.).
To become a volunteer mentor, applicants first fill out an application which includes questions on mental health and any issues concerning the police. We then interview applicants for suitability, and check their two required references. Successful applicants complete a criminal record check and participate in a training weekend that covers mentor standards, concerns, etiquette and responsibilities.
6. How big will the group be?
There will be 6-10 girls. Each girl will choose who they want to be their mentor at the first session. So 6-10 girls + 6-10 mentors. Mentors will be present for half the Preparation (pre-ceremony) sessions and for the entire ceremonial weekend. Elisa, the main facilitator will always be present, and at times there will be additional support people such as guest facilitators and cooks for the ceremony weekend.
7. What if my daughter needs to miss a session?
We strongly recommend attending all sessions with the exception of the two post-ceremony sessions in the summer where we ask for attendance to at least one session. In the four pre-ceremony sessions, the girls are getting to know each other through unique experiences that prepare them socially, emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually for their ceremonial weekend. These experiences create special friendships and bonding with each other and the mentors. If absence is unavoidable, please do not miss more than one of the pre-ceremony sessions.
8. Will the girls spend time alone in nature? Is this safe?
Spending time alone in nature is an ancient practice in rites of passage which the girls will experience. They will be guided to do so safely and with supervision, gradually building up the amount of time they spend in nature throughout the preparation phase. We will also do some hiking on medium-intensity trails and your daughter does not need to be super able in the outdoors to do this.
We will never be away from medical help or communications, and Elisa, the guide, is certified in Advanced Wilderness First Aid. She has been guiding youth in the wilderness for almost 15 years and is a vision quest guide.
9. What role do I play as a parent?
Rites of passage make life transitions visible and explicit, and one of the characteristics of coming-of-age is a movement away from parental figures in order to find self-identity in this world. In general, please be respectful of what your daughter may or may not want to share with you as she goes through this process, knowing that it is perfectly normal for her to want more privacy and that she is supported by a community of mentors in this program.
There will be a leaving ceremony involving parents and participants immediately before the girls leave for their ceremony weekend, and a Welcome Back potluck feast to welcome the young women home. More information and discussion will happen on our Parents’ Night before the program begins.
10. Will there be horses?
YES! A wonderful community member has offered us time with her pack of equine therapy horses for the rite of passage program. We’re excited to incorporate these lovely beings!
11. Will there be unicorns?
We sure hope so!