This year, we are excited to offer two versions of the same Back Country Expedition! In 2017, we are offering BOTH a backpacking adventure in the high-country of the Rocky Mountains, and have just added a new experience — Canoeing the Green River in Utah. While these two Expeditions are vastly different in the adventure, the content and purpose remains the same. Pick which one suits you best, and you will embark on an epic journey you and your son will never forget!
While the Base Camp experience is Phase 1 of the Man Maker process, introducing fathers to the categories and processes of making men out of their sons, the Back Country experience creates the space for the application of genuine masculine initiation. Back Country is designed as an intensive experience for both father and son. God the Father used the wilderness as the context for his Son’s preparation for ministry, and we believe there is no better place to help your son discover who he is becoming as a man. The aim of the adventure is to have boys head into the wilderness but return as initiated men.
Back Country is Phase 2 of the Man Maker Expedition series, and is designed for fathers and sons ages 12-14 years old. During this experience, we continue building on the foundation you have laid and dive deeper into what it means to be a man. The physical challenges will match the spiritual, as boys and fathers will engage various categories of the Man Maker material together. They will have regular one-on-one conversations throughout the experience.
Back Country Colorado is truly a backpacking experience in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness area near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We’ll hike above treeline, fish pristine mountain lakes, and enjoy the rugged beauty of the Colorado Rockies. This is completely primitive with no facilities but the woods, however our wilderness guides provide delicious meals and outdoor skills-building so there is no need for prior backpacking experience. Ability to walk with a large backpack for 3-4 miles at a time at 10,000 feet elevation is required of both boys and dads.
In addition, fathers and sons will have separately facilitated times with our trained Man Maker trail guides, inviting them deeper into the categories of godly masculinity. We will be challenged to share our stories, consider how each man uniquely reflects the image of God, and utilize the elements of risk to usher the young men into true manhood. Our time together will culminate in an blessing ceremony during which each boy will be clearly called into manhood.
If you have any desire whatsoever to initiate your son into Godly manhood, then use this trip to catalyze the process. It is a great kickoff, culmination or somewhere in the middle for your son’s “Man Year” experience. We believe boys are born, but men are made. (Specific activities intentionally kept secret!)
To participate in Back Country, it is a requirement that all fathers read Man Maker Project: Boys are Born, Men are Made. (The book is included and will be sent as soon as registration is completed). Prior to the expedition, a member of the Restoration Project team will connect with each father individually in order to best support him in the process of initiating his son. While this expedition has built-in elements guided by our team, we will also do our best to shape the experience to include participant-specific elements as well.
Back Country is not designed as a replacement for the Man Maker ceremony a father may choose to do on his own (with his own local company of men). It can act as a supplement to the father-crafted Man Maker year, or in some cases where a father has struggled to gather this group, it can be a place where fathers can initiate their sons in the company of other men.
Fathers will receive pre-departure material, guided conversations suggestions, and trail-guides to prepare for the journey.
No outdoor experience is necessary, though all participants must be physically able to carry a 50 lb. pack and hike roughly 3 miles a day. There will be other physical challenges included in this experience as well, though participants may opt out if needed. We provide all group gear, all meals, and back country guides, creating the space for any father-son pair to participate. Camping gear is NOT provided, though we can assist in finding rental if needed. Throughout the experience, we will share responsibilities amongst the group, including pitching tents, purifying water, cooking meals, etc.
Back Country Backpacking will begin in Fort Collins, Colorado, where we will gear up, load up and travel together to the trailhead in the Zirkel wilderness. Transportation from Fort Collins to the trailhead and back will be provided.