I spent 10 weeks, 70 days, 2.5 months in the Olympic Wilderness overcoming the struggles I faced last year. I’m proud to say I made it through and feel stronger as a person now because of it. I want to thank my entire family that I made out there, because we had so many amazing experiences. I participated two rites of passage, climbed several mountains, discovered new ways of cooking, discovered the root of my problems, and met some of the best friends I’ve ever made in the world. This place taught me how to be the leader and role model I’ve always wanted to be. And taught me the skills and traits I had in my self that I never thought I would discover. At the start of my story I kept thinking about how this was Hell, but at the end I never knew Hell could be so beautiful and that I never wanted to leave. Thank you to my trail family and guides and special thanks to the Gabes, Tommy, Lunchbox, and Evan. The boys will always carry on! Long live the Amigos!
I recently graduated from Rites of Passage, and because and because of it I undertstand my path to success and ability to flourish depends on my choices. ROP has truly given me a seconf chance at a new life and mindset. If you don’t already, you’ll learn to love the outdoor through the beautiful trails, wonderful wildlife, and deep connected campfires.
Nathan has been so laid back, Emma has got it going on…trail, Christie is a rockstar, and Luke and the guides kept me going.
The best two tips I have are to work with the program, and find every way possible to have fun, as long as it’s legal, and somewhat safe. As you grow your love and understanding of everyone and everything will grow with you.
Tommy W (16)
Former student now guide
I Robby R am currently a guide at Rites of Passage NW. What inspired me to become a guide was actually going through the ROP as a student when I was 16 years old. Prior to ROP I had a love for nature, however I had no idea what I could do with my passion for the outdoors. After learning about wilderness therapy as I went through it, I began to imagine the beginning of my career. That being said prior to ROP I seriously struggled with anxiety & depression. While these mental health disorders will be something I will deal with my entire life, ROP gave me the tools necessary to keep my anxiety at a manageable level & my depression is hardly noticeable anymore. Because of ROP I was able to get through college and obtain a degree in Tourism and Outdoor Leadership. With this degree I felt it was only right to work my first season after college with ROP and give back to the program that helped me so much. My goal working with ROP was really just to provide my testimony to the kids on trail to show them that the program does work and they can do whatever it is they want in life. My hope was that my experiences would give me a unique way to get through to students of ROP, as I had been in their shoes, and know it’s possible to work through whatever is going on in their life and become the person they want to be.
Robie R (Guide)
“Hi Emma! Our boy is doing so well 6 months on from graduating ROP. He’s really enjoying school, has a large group of friends, & is passing all of his classes without an IEP or 504 plan. ROP was a wonderful experience for him. He’s come away with useful tools to deal with challenging situations, & he gained a lot of confidence scaling mountains & moving through the program, plus he really felt a connection w/several members of the group. There have been some situations this year where friends of his got into trouble & he made the right decision to not join them in mischief, &/or tried to talk them out of it, & I feel sure this is due to his experience at ROP. We have had to reign him in a bit, but I do feel the experience with ROP has helped the whole family in navigating through these difficult teen years! He is interested in coming back as a mentor this year, & I think it would benefit him as well. I also suspect that the experience will continue to bear fruit for years to come as he matures & reflects back on it. Hope you’re all well! Happy New Year!” ~ Grateful Mom from Olalla, WA
“Things are going really well – WAY better than before. Not perfect but much better. [My son] spent 3 weeks with us this last break. He has become sweet, caring and respectful of the boundaries. We were clear on house rules. He complied and didn’t make a fuss at all. Said that he understood. We had a few conversations about it – He shared with me his life goals (has 5 – was good to see that). We talked about them – how does one go about achieving goals. We discussed how to measure / observe progress towards goals. His grades were all Bs – he said that he was wasn’t happy about it and planned to do better this quarter. So, that’s good.
We talked about his ROP experience and he was very positive about it – said that after ROP, he feels that he can overcome any difficult situation. Let’s see if he can continue to apply that to his addiction.
He was great towards his stepbrother (went on some activities with him), respectful and engaged with his stepmom and went to his little brother’s Ballet performance (Nutcracker) – something he wouldn’t have done at all 1 yr ago! He actually appreciated what his brother was doing. Overall, he was a pleasure to have around.
Rest of the family is doing well – getting back in the groove after 2 weeks off from work!
Hope you all are doing well and your program is thriving. I see so many struggling teenagers and parents around me but they are not willing or are not able to do anything about it. I am so thankful that [my son] and all of his family had the opportunity to experience ROP (in our own ways). It was a life changer. I remind myself of where we were 2 yrs ago and where we are today – and it confirms to me that sending him to ROP was the best decision for [my son] (and his family)” Extremely grateful Dad, Portland OR