ManKind Project

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Mankind Project
Logo mankind project.png
Founded 1984, Wisconsin, United States
Founder Rich Tosi,[1]
Bill Kauth[2]
Ron Hering
Type Not For Profit
Focus Men's movement
Product Personal development
Key people
Board Chairmen: Ed Gurowitz, ManKind Project International; Robert Powell, MKP-USA
Employees
>5
Volunteers
>1000
Website mankindproject.org

ManKind Project (MKP) is a global network of nonprofit organizations focused on modern male initiation, self-awareness, and personal growth.[3][4]

Scope[edit]

The ManKind Project has 12 regions: Australia, Belgium, Canada, French Speaking Europe, New Zealand, Nordic (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland), South Africa, Switzerland, Germany, The United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States. There are also 7 developing regions: Costa Rica, Mexico, The Netherlands, China, Singapore, India, Central Africa (Cameroon, DRC).[5]

History[edit]

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 Weekend" (later renamed "The New Warrior Training"[6]). As the popularity of the training grew, they formed a New Warrior Network organization, which would later become The Mankind Project.[2][7]

New Warrior Training Adventure[edit]

a graphic representation of the Hero's Journey.
A graphic representation of the Hero's Journey.

MKP states:

The New Warrior Training Adventure is a modern male initiation and self-examination... it is The Hero's Journey of classical literature and myth that has nearly disappeared in modern culture.[8]

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.[9] 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,"[10] and ensuring the safety of all participants.[11]

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.

Training courses usually involve 20 to 32 participants, and some 30 to 45 staff. The average cost of the weekend course is $650.[12] The course usually takes place at a retreat center, over a 48-hour period, with a one-to-one ratio of staff to participants.[10]

A study that accumulated data from 45 trainings held between 2006-2009, indicated that the psychological well-being of participants, as well as other indicators, improved after the initial weekend of participation in an NWTA. Many of the initial changes endured across a 2-year follow-up period[13].

Integration Groups (I-Groups)[edit]

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.[14] 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 fee is charged for this training (fees vary by community and format). Some training courses are part of a small integration group on their own with qualified leaders, other training courses take place over an entire weekend and can cost between $100 and $250 depending on lodging, location, and number of men attending.

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.[15]

A study conducted in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area collected retrospective survey data from members of 45 I-groups that met between 1990 and 1998. At the end of the study period (1998), 23 groups were active and 22 had disbanded. Groups were active for 4.5 years (median), and the median length of individual participation was 26.2 months (2.2 years).[a] Each group consisted of about six men. Survey participants rated their groups as moderately effective.[16]

Other training courses[edit]

MKP is affiliated with several similar training programs:

  • Becoming a Man (BAM) - a program in Chicago for inner-city adolescent boys[17][18]
  • Boys to Men, for adolescent boys[4]
  • Inner King, for "initiating men into sovereign, kingly energy"[2]
  • Inside Circle, for convicts in maximum security prisons[19]
  • Underground Railroad Training Odyssey,[20] sponsored by the Inward Journey African American Council[21]
  • Vets Journey Home (formerly "Bamboo Bridge"), for combat veterans[22]
  • Warrior Monk, for "men and women who are in a transition phase of life"[2]
  • Woman Within International, for women[23]

Celebrity endorsements[edit]

In an article by the magazine Pitchfork in 2013, musician Jim James thanked the ManKind Project for providing a place to “help men feel more OK with all the different sides of being a man.”.[24] Actor Wentworth Miller, in an address to the Human Rights Campaign during an event in 2013, describes his involvement with MKP as vital to his coming out process, and his introduction to being part of an accepting community.[25] In his letter rejecting an invitation to the Festival of Festivals, Saint Petersburg on grounds that he as a gay man could not support the event while Russian law prohibits homosexuality, Miller signed as a member of the ManKind Project as well as member of the HRC and GLAAD.[26]

Criticism[edit]

A 2007 Houston Press article[27] detailed criticisms of the ManKind Project, e.g., anthropology associate professor Norris G. Lang[28] said that some of the groups' exercises that he attended were "fairly traumatic" and were "dangerous territory for an unprofessional"; and Anti-cult advocate Rick Alan Ross said that The ManKind Project appears to use coercive mind-control tactics, such as limiting participants' sleep and diet, cutting them off from the outside world, forcing members to keep secrets, and using intimidation.[27]

Wrongful death lawsuit[edit]

A 2007 wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a Texas man charged that MKP was responsible for Michael Scinto's suicide.[27] The parents said 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.[27] MKP agreed to settle the case on June 4, 2008. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.[citation needed]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Based on survival analysis using the Kaplan-Meier method.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About the Presenters". www.tosi.biz. Tosi and Associates. Archived from the original on October 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-25. In 1985, Rich co-founded the ManKind Project... 
  2. ^ a b c d Baer, Reid (May 2006). "May interview with Bill Kauth". A Man Overboard. MenStuff: The National Men's Resource. Retrieved 2008-04-25. Bill Kauth is a co-founder of the New Warrior Training Adventure of the ManKind Project... 
  3. ^ "The ManKind Project of Chicago". chicago.mkp.org. ManKind Project of Chicago. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  4. ^ a b "www.mankindproject.org". www.mankinkproject.org. Mankind Project. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  5. ^ "ManKind Project Regions and Communities". The ManKind Project. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  6. ^ "MKP website". Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  7. ^ "Interview with Bill Kauth". www.menweb.org. M.E.N. Magazine. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  8. ^ "New Warrior Training Adventure". chicago.mkp.org. The ManKind Project of Chicago. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  9. ^ Gary, Stamper. Awakening the new masculine: the path of the integral warrior. Bloomington, IN. p. 4. ISBN 9781469731506. OCLC 779879021. 
  10. ^ a b Barry, Chris (2003-10-23). "Male transformer: Mankind Project uses mysterious rituals to help heal wounded men". Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Montreal Mirror. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  11. ^ http://mankindproject.org/new-warrior-training-adventure
  12. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions about the New Warrior Training Adventure". www.mkp.org. Mankind Project. Archived from the original on 2008-04-01. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  13. ^ Maton, Kenneth I.; Mankowski, Eric S.; Anderson, Clinton W.; Barton, Edward R.; Karp, David R.; Ratjen, Björn (2014-01-01). "Long-Term Changes among Participants in a Men's Mutual-Help Organization" (PDF). International Journal of Self Help and Self Care. 8 (1): 85–112. doi:10.2190/sh.8.1.j. ISSN 1091-2851. 
  14. ^ Kauth, Bill (1992). A Circle of Men: The Original Manual for Men's Support Groups. New York: St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 0-312-07247-3. OCLC 24871074. 
  15. ^ Jackman, Michael (2006-11-29). "Band of brothers: The men's movement (still) want guys to open their hearts". Metro Times. Scranton, Pennsylvania: Times-Shamrock Communications. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  16. ^ Mankowski, Eric S.; Maton, Kenneth I.; Burke, Christopher K.; Stephan, Sharon Hoover (2014). "Group Formation, Participant Retention, and Group Disbandment in a Men's Mutual Help Organization" (PDF). International Journal of Self Help and Self Care. 8 (1): 41–60. doi:10.2190/sh.8.1.h. 
  17. ^ "Becoming a Man". urbanlabs.uchicago.edu. University of Chicago, Urban Labs. Retrieved 2017-12-12. In two randomized controlled trials, the Crime Lab found that BAM cuts violent-crime arrests among youth in half and boosts the high school graduation rates of participants by nearly 20 percent. 
  18. ^ Trickey, Erick (September 21, 2017). "Group Therapy Is Saving Lives in Chicago". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved 2017-12-12. BAM also requires all counselors to go on a weekend retreat put on by the ManKind Project, a Chicago-based organization that dates back to the men’s movement of the 1980s and 1990s. The retreat is a key part of BAM counselors’ “rites-of-passage work,” an ongoing examination of their challenges and character. Men who won’t make themselves vulnerable, Di Vittorio says, won’t inspire boys to do the same. 
  19. ^ "Missions of Service". www.mkp.org. Mankind Project. Archived from the original on 2008-04-01. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  20. ^ "The Underground Railroad Odyssey Training". www.inwardjourney.org. Retrieved 2017-12-12. 
  21. ^ "Who We Are". www.inwardjourney.org. Retrieved 2017-12-12. 
  22. ^ "Welcome to Vets Journey". www.vetsjourneyhome.org. Retrieved 2017-12-12. 
  23. ^ "Home Page - Woman Within International". womanwithin.org. Retrieved 2017-12-12. 
  24. ^ http://pitchfork.com/features/interviews/9053-jim-james/
  25. ^ http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/video-wentworth-miller-talks-about-coming-out-overcoming-struggles-at-hrc-d
  26. ^ http://www.glaad.org/blog/wentworth-miller-rejects-russian-film-festival-invitation-gay-man-i-must-decline
  27. ^ a b c d Vogel, Chris (2007-10-04). "Naked Men: The ManKind Project and Michael Scinto". Houston Press. Village Voice Media. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  28. ^ "Norris G. Lang". www.uh.edu. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 

External links[edit]