|Founded||1984, Wisconsin, United States|
|Key people||Board Chairmen: David Kaar, ManKind Project International; Robert Powell, MKP-USA|
|Revenue||$1,938,132 for 2006|
|Slogan||Changing the world, one man at a time. also Men mentoring Men through the passages of their lives|
ManKind Project (MKP) is a non-profit, educational organization, with the stated purpose to "support men in leading meaningful lives of integrity, accountability, responsibility, and emotional intelligence."
MKP serves as the umbrella organization for 43 interdependent centers in eight countries (in four continents). Each center elects its own leadership, and conducts trainings that address men's life issues.
MKP has its origins in the mythopoetic men's movement of the early 1980s, drawing heavily on the works of Robert Bly, Robert L. Moore, and Douglas Gillette. In 1984, Rich Tosi, a former Marine Corps officer; Bill Kauth, a social worker, therapist, and author; and university professor Ron Hering, Ph.D. (Curriculum Studies); created an experiential weekend for men called the "Wildman Adventure" (later renamed "The New Warrior Training"). As the popularity of the training grew, they formed a New Warrior Network organization, which would later become The Mankind Project.
New Warrior Training Adventure
The New Warrior Training Adventure is a weekend process of initiation and self-examination that is designed to catalyze the development of a healthy and mature masculine self. It is The Hero's Journey of classical literature and myth adapted to our modern culture.
The weekend is intended as a male initiation ritual. MKP states that those who undertake this journey pass through three phases characteristic to virtually all historic forms of male initiation: descent, ordeal and return. Participants surrender all electronic devices (cell phones, watches, laptops, etc.), weapons (guns, knives, etc.) and jewelry for the weekend. This was explained as way of removing the "noise of a man's life", separating the man "from what he is comfortable with," and ensuring the safety of all participants.
Participants agree to confidentiality of the NWTA processes, to create an experience "uncluttered by expectation" for the next man and to protect the privacy of all participants. MKP encourages participants to freely discuss what they learned about themselves with anyone.
Trainings usually involve 20 to 32 participants, and some 30 to 45 staff. The average cost of the weekend course is $650. The course usually takes place at a retreat center, over a 48-hour period, with a one-to-one ratio of staff to participants.
Integration Groups (I-Groups)
MKP co-founder Bill Kauth's 1992 book A Circle of Men: The Original Manual for Men's Support Groups details how groups of men can assemble to help one another emotionally and psychologically. Men who have completed the NWTA are encouraged to consider joining such a group. An optional "Integration Group" training is offered shortly after each NWTA; a small fee is charged for training expenses (Fees vary by community and format). Some trainings are part of a small integration group on their own with qualified leaders, other trainings take place over an entire weekend and can cost between $100 and $250 depending on lodging, location, and number of men attending (See CoCreative Payment process, not yet written). Scholarships as well as a CCP (CoCreative Payment process) options are often available, making it more accessible to the financially less able.
The "I-Group" is for participants to engage in ongoing personal work and to apply the principles learned on the NWTA to their lives. I-Groups are available to all men who complete the NWTA, and sometimes to men who want to explore the Mankind Project. Many I-Groups meet one evening per week. A typical I-Group meeting includes conversation and sharing in a series of "rounds" that allow each man to be heard.
MKP is affiliated with several similar training programs :
- Boyz II Men, for adolescent boys
- Inner King, for "initiating men into sovereign, kingly energy"
- Inside Circle, for convicts in maximum security prisons
- Inward Journey, for people of African descent[clarification needed]
- Vets Journey Home (formerly "Bamboo Bridge"), for combat zone veterans
- Warrior Monk, for "men and women who are in a transition phase of life"
- Woman Within, for women
Some former MKP members have written negative material about MKP on public blogs and chat lists.
Anti-cult advocate Rick Ross of the Rick A. Ross Institute was quoted as saying that The ManKind Project appears to use coercive mind-control tactics. These include limiting participants' sleep and diet, cutting them off from the outside world, forcing members to keep secrets, and using intimidation.
On August 31, 2010, a wrongful termination/retaliation lawsuit was reportedly filed against a law firm for allegedly retaliating against an employee who refused to attend the "New Warrior Training Seminar" offered by The Mankind Project (MKP). MKP was not named in the lawsuit. The MKP organization itself officially opposes any coercive actions by individual member when enrolling workshop participants.
Wrongful death lawsuit
A 2007 wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a Texas man charged that MKP was responsible for Michael Scinto's suicide. The parents claimed that he had struggled with alcohol and cocaine addiction in the past. Scinto was a 29 year old adult who had been clean and sober for a year and a half prior to his attending MKP's New Warrior Training Adventure in July 2005. Two days after Scinto returned from the NWTA retreat, he sought psychiatric help at Ben Taub Hospital. He subsequently began drinking and taking drugs again, and he then committed suicide. MKP agreed to settle the case on June 4, 2008. The terms of the settlement are not disclosed.
MKP subsequently instituted mental health screenings by certified professionals to assess the stability of all prospective NWTA workshop participants. MKP further initiated and still maintains a public anti-suicide program for men, and its emphasis is on emotional honesty and facing one's inner fears with support from other men.
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