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You are here: Home Wilderness Programs Ages 12 - 15 Mountain Quest: Coming of Age for Young Men (3 Week)

Mountain Quest: Coming of Age for Young Men (3 Week)

This classic program provides the ultimate Hero’s Journey for boys.

Mountain Quest: Coming of Age for Young Men (3 Week)

A participant breaks at a river while hiking in Olympic National Park.

When Jul 22, 2018 10:00 AM to
Aug 11, 2018 05:00 PM
Where Olympic National Park, Begins and ends in Bothell, WA
Cost: $2975, including $500 deposit. Financial aid may be available
Ages: 12-15
Taught by: Peter Cameron, Ryen Helzer
Contact Name Cameron Withey
Contact Email
Contact Phone (425) 485.7396
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Parents please plan to attend the first and last days of the trip.

This three-week program challenges boys to develop into solid young men, as heroes in their own life journeys. 


"Our son entered 7th grade quite changed. He was more self-confident with a quiet, inner strength. He showed more leadership by sharing what he had done in class. I think his Journey had immediate impact on him in these ways and will have long-lasting impact as a strong memory and a strong growth experience. He learned to trust himself in new ways." Participant Parent.

For thousands of years, cultures around the world have relied on the wisdom of intentional rites of passage to awaken the mature masculine spirit within young boys. By overcoming various ordeals, initiates bring back the inner resources and external skills that the community depends on for its continued vitality.

In the spirit of these ancient traditions, the Mountain Quest offers youth an opportunity to live, learn, and laugh in a supportive community of male mentors and peers. Far away from video games, mass media, and pressures of modern society, life slows down and begins to take on new meaning.

As participants sleep under star-filled skies, hike among ancient cedars, and dip in cold mountain streams, the rich inner life of a boy awakens. At journey’s end, each will bring home the exciting and important story of his own adventure, a greater sense of self-awareness, and new gifts to share with his family and his community.

This program runs in two sessions. If you would like more information about the two-week version, click here.

Family Participation

The initiate’s family plays an important role in the Coming of Age Journey. On the first day of the trip, parents and guardians will send their children off and then spend some time exploring the changes that are happening in their child and in their family.  At the conclusion of the 3-week adventure, parents and guardians take part in a program of incorporation. During this day-long event, parents and young people alike will have the opportunity to see one another with new eyes. Together in this way, they breathe new life into existing relationships, and explore the possibilities of what it means to be a family in the 21st century, with a new family member who is no longer a boy, but a young man.


     register now sm      cameron PD button        

 Financial aid may be available. Please visit our Scholarship page for more information.


2017 Staff

             Peter C 2017 Ryen H

             Peter Cameron    

                       Ryen Helzer

I am interested in how the processes that guide an ecosystem can hold our curiosity, inspire the imagination, and grow people with integrity. My role as a guide is to safely hold space for that natural tethering with wildness to take place. I was given a rite of passage experience when I was 16; that experience has been a guiding force in my life, and is a gift I am always humbled to give. I have a BFA in Acting, and so am attentive to the ways myth and story carry us into ourselves. Currently, I work as a Land Steward of the Ojai Foundation, where I track and tend to the many processes of our ecology. When I'm not digging swales, pruning, and reseeding native flowers, I'm teaching youth about our role as gardeners of the wild, or practicing council with the community. I am a certified in WFR/CPR and am excited to be stepping into my second season leading trips with ROPJ. I am honored to hold this adventure for youth with safety, curiosity, and care. Come on down!

Ryen, the youngest of four boys, was born and raised in the desert of Phoenix, Arizona. He parted from his suburban upbringing to start a rewilding journey as a forest firefighter in Northern Arizona serving as an EMT and Crew member. The dirt paths led Ryen to Southeast Alaska to build and maintain hiking trails and learn the rhythms of Nature. Ryen would return to the Sonoran desert winds to attend Reevis Mountain School of Self-reliance in the Superstition Wilderness, where he learned western herbalism, oriental acupressure, primitive and desert survival skills. He went back to his home city to complete coursework at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts to become a Life Coach.  These skills would be applied to his work on the Big Island of Hawaii at Pacific Quest Horticultural Therapy program where Ryen was a lead guide and participated in guiding adolescents through their Rites of Passage. He engaged in his own Rites of Passage Vision Fast on the Big Island, where he now resides, working the volcanic land, practicing permaculture and preparing for Marriage. Ryen moves forward with the Intention to be a transitional guide who embodies the Phoenix from where he was born.

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