Coastal Post Online


May, 2003

Rights Of Passage For Bolinas-Stinson 8th Graders

Anthropologists have discovered that rites of passage were a key part of every traditional culture.  Why were rites of passage so universal?  What fundamental human needs do they speak to?  Our modern culture lacks meaningful rites of passage Are we missing something?  How might we reclaim rites of passage in culturally relevant ways?
   Mimi Calpestri, Dale Johnson, and Glen Stover have been asking themselves these questions and have designed a rite of passage for the Stinson-Bolinas eighth graders for this summer. Mimi, Glen, and Dale are organizing a six-day wilderness rites of passage trip in collaboration with the Stepping Stones Project, a small local non-profit dedicated to providing rites of passage to the youth in our communities.
   The trip will be in Mendocino County, and include 24 hours of solo time in the wilderness. The purpose of this quest is to assist the youth in the transition from the relative simplicity of childhood and middle school in West Marin into the complexity of adolescence and high school over the hill along with which comes increased responsibilities and changing roles in the family and community. Through this Rite of Passage, the youth may discover their gifts and strengths, their vision for their role in the community, and their own personal "medicine" or wisdom for dealing with the challenges that lay in front of them. 
   The guides, Glen and Dale along with Stepping Stones project wilderness guides, will facilitate these discoveries and support the youth to integrate their visions/roles/paths into the fabric of their lives and provide the youth with some tools, or a medicine bag of resources, to take with them into high school. The trip will be on August 5 through 10, the cost is  $600 per student with full and partial scholarships available to anyone who wishes to go. For more information please call Dale, Mimi, or Glen or contact the Stepping Stones Project at 721-9605 or visit the web site at


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