Today I wanted to share an e-mail from a ManKind Project man who recently staffed a New Warrior Training Adventure. What makes these words special for me is that the training was the first to take place in Hawaii; further stretching MKP to new areas. So, I hope you can get a sense of the honor and joy that men feel when staffing a training for the men who step up for it.
Will you be one of those men who takes the risk?
I've just returned from Hawaii, where eleven of us NorCal Warriors staffed (and MOS-ed) the state's first-ever NWTA at Camp Honokaia, a boy scout camp in the northern end of the Big Island.
It was one of the best weekends of my life. Thursday afternoon before we started, two native kahus (spiritual men) arrived to bless the land and welcome the elements of water, sun, land, and wind, singing traditional songs and braiding a long rope of ti leaves energized by each staff man.
Since this was the first MKP Hawaii training ever, the local brothers had done a HUGE amount of site prep assembling the training. We set up the rest of the greeting, and by Friday afternoon we were ready.
I can tell you that not a single initiate was late! They all arrived by 5:20, something I've never seen before. The first man arrived almost two hours early. These men were eager!
Without revealing anything confidential, the staff and leaders were thrown a number of curves throughout the weekend, some of which were the result of a first NWTA on a new site, and some due to the initiates' particular needs and challenges. Our leaders were brilliant, however, improvising and going with the flow, with everyone on staff generally trusting that even if it was off the map, what was happening needed to happen. It was beautiful to behold.
One of my favorite moments was a ceremony held outside. The moon was out, and the air was warm, and I felt like a part of something thousands of years old.
Besides a few mosquito bites, the main thing I took away from this first Island training was the absolute commitment of the Hawaiian men. Many of us have met Hawaiian brothers when they've come to NorCal to staff or attend PITs, but to see them in their element -- building their community, serving selflessly, supporting not only the initiates but each other through the weekend -- was absolutely inspiring. These are some of the hardest-working men I've met in a long time. Many of them have only staffed once or twice, but you'd have never known that from their dedication and skills. I was in awe.
For me, there is nothing like an NWTA to remind me that I am doing the work I want to do and making a difference in the world. To witness one in a new community with as much juice as Hawaii had was very powerful. I judge that the New Brothers I met on the way out were changed forever. Some of them got out of their cars to hug me. Some were crying. All were blown open by the experience, and I was too.
Kudos to the Hawaiian men for the job they did; kudos to us for supporting and fostering a strong new arm to our organization. Aloha and mahalo!
Camp Augusta, September 04