May 19th 2016
"I've never been so frightened," confessed 25-year-old Kyrus.
"My tent collapsed, my supplies were saturated, tree trunks were snapping all around me...I was in the middle of a microburst—a mini hurricane. It was crazy. I spent the night in the outhouse!"
Kyrus was describing his 24-hour solo experience on the annual Rites of Passage trip to the Adirondacks. As a senior at our UrbanPromise Academy 7 years ago, Kyrus experienced the elements of nature, did some soul searching, and learned a little about becoming an adult.
"In life things come at you out of nowhere," he confided recently. "You may not be prepared, so you have to stay strong and positive and learn to stand on your own two feet."
Modeled after ancient tribal customs, the Rites of Passage trip helps our high school students transition to their next stage in life. Ancient cultures had traditions and rituals to help their young move into adulthood; in modern Western culture, many of these practices have been lost.
"Not every student experiences a microburst," chuckles Jim Cummings, Founder and Director of our experiential learning program. "Rites of Passage is about overcoming adversity. We help our students make an intentional break from adolescence."
Instead of running from responsibility, he got married, found a job, and started raising a family. Seven years later, Kyrus has two beautiful children, is happily married, and works as a corrections officer.
"Without a doubt the Rites of Passage trip was a turning point for me," he reflects. "It helped me get serious about my life."
Tomorrow, Jim Cummings will again take 12 of our high school seniors to the Adirondacks for 6 days. They will hike, canoe, keep journals, fight off the black flies, set goals, and spend 24 hours alone in the wilderness, reflecting on the next stage of their lives. It will be the ultimate final exam before they graduate.
What does it cost to send a teen on this life-transforming trip? Food, transportation, and gear for each senior will cost $70 a day, or $210 for 3 days, or $420 for the week. Or perhaps you'd be willing to underwrite the entire trip for all 12 seniors for $5,000.
Building responsible young adults with character, values, and persistence is priceless to the future of our society.
I hope I can count on your help for this amazing opportunity.
Dr. Bruce Main