Chicago – Windy City Times – April 2017

The Windy City Times is an LGBTQ media source in the Chicago Area. They recently wrote a story covering the ManKind Project’s upcoming GBTQ Gateway New Warrior Training Adventure, happening in Woodstock, IL from July 14-16, 2017. Article reprinted in full below:

ManKind group invites GBTQQ men to training

by David Thill

Chicago-area men who identify as gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning ( GBTQQ ) have the opportunity to experience The ManKind Project’s ( MKP’s ) New Warrior Training Adventure ( NWTA ) this summer.

The GBTQQ-specific version of the three-decade-old men’s training, based on the narrative of the “hero’s journey”—in which the hero separates himself from the outside world and enters the wilderness to discover his inner self, in turn becoming stronger so he can be a positive force in the outside world upon his return—will be held in Woodstock, Illinois, July 14-16.

Boysen Hodgson, MKP’s marketing and communications director, told Windy City Times that the organization encourages the men who participate in the 48-hour training to “have their own experience.” To that end, he said, “Out of respect for the mysterious nature of the training and the difficulty fully explaining what happens, we ask men to hold this information in a ‘sacred’ way.”

This may leave readers wondering what exactly they will get with the $700 they spend on the training. Those details are largely at the discretion of the men who attend the training—many of whom refrain from providing the specifics of what actually happens there. But to persuade potential newcomers, MKP offers testimonials from men who speak positively of their experience at the NWTA.

Sixty-three thousand men have experienced the training since its beginnings, said Hodgson. MKP, he said, works with men “to be better,” to understand themselves, and build emotional intelligence.

However, the mystery cannot be denied.

Addressing the questions

Four Chicago-area men founded The ManKind Project about 30 years ago, when they began offering men the opportunity to attend a “Wildman Weekend.” Now, MKP boasts an international non-profit presence. Its “Gateway” NWTAs—including the GBTQQ-specific training—mark the organization’s efforts to be more inclusive of populations such as GBTQQ men, men of color, and men with disabilities. Wentworth Miller, the star of television’s Prison Break, spoke positively of his experience with MKP in a speech he made at the 2013 Human Rights Campaign Dinner.

But an internet search resulted in a handful of articles that may raise questions, including several discussing a wrongful-death lawsuit brought against MKP’s Houston branch by the family of Michael Scinto. Scinto, 29, committed suicide after attending the mainstream ( non-Gateway ) NWTA in 2005.

The lawsuit, which ended in a settlement, led to changes in the application process, Hodgson said. Prospective participants’ applications are now evaluated by a “mental health resource team” that includes medical professionals.

“It is never our intention to abuse; it is never our intention to degrade; it is never our intention to injure,” said Hodgson. But, he added, “That does not mean that men won’t perceive it that way. [The NWTA] is challenging and can be confrontational.”

As for MKP’s stance on sexual orientation, and reports that the organization has been endorsed by reparative therapists, Hodgson acknowledged that men have participated in MKP activities who identify as having “unwanted same-sex attraction”—a mainstay of the reparative-therapy movement. The organization’s official statement on sexual orientation, adopted in 2009, states in part that, “We welcome men of all sexual orientations: gay, straight, and bisexual, including those who identify as having unwanted same sex attraction.”

But Hodgson said that MKP does not practice, support or endorse reparative therapy. Furthermore, he said, the organization has contacted members of the reparative therapy movement that have expressed support for MKP, “and asked them to remove all reference to The ManKind Project from their web page.”

John Carlsen, Psy.D.—a licensed clinical psychologist at Englewood Mental Health Center and a board member of MKP’s Chicago branch—completed the mainstream NWTA in 2013. Four years later, he’s preparing to staff the GBTQQ Gateway NWTA this July.

Soon before his training, Carlsen realized that he had “never gone back into the larger world of men as an out, integrated gay man.” The training made it clear to him “what barriers I was experiencing,” including, most prominently, homophobia that he had internalized during his years of coming out in the 1980s.

He told Windy City Times that he is grateful for his experiences of completing his NWTA, working in his ongoing “I-Group” for men, staffing NWTA weekends and serving as an MKP board member “in a predominantly heterosexual male environment.” These experiences, he said, have been “welcoming,” “challenging,” “deeply affirming” and “supportive.”

Carlsen suggested interested readers attend an upcoming “Homecoming Celebration” that will welcome participants back from the April 2017 Chicago NWTA. This event, open to the public, will take place Wed., May 3, 7-10 p.m., at The ManKind Project’s Chicago Center.

More information on the organization is at .


From the PQ Monthly – September 18, 2014

By Nick Mattos, PQ Monthly

The local chapter of an international men’s group aims to bring local men self-actualization through initiation into “mature masculinity” — and is planning a GBTQ-specific workshop in the area to facilitate more men finding their own self-actualization.

The ManKind Project was formed in 1984 by the rather unlikely trio of therapist Bill Kauth, university professor Ron Hering, and former Marine Corps officer Rich Tosi. Influenced by the mythopoetic men’s movement — an approach to considering the psychological and social health of men in the light of mythology and social justice articulated by authors such as Robert Bly — the trio sought to reinstitute what they felt to be a lost tradition of initiation amongst men. The tradition of male initiation is in no way alien to the West, nor to modern American life; as just one example, as recently as 1950 one out of every twelve American men participated in the initiatic tradition of Freemasonry. However, as the founders of the MKP saw it, the decline of clear rites of passage in modern society resulted in adult males who were still trapped in a state of perpetual boyhood.

To recreate this initiatory experience in a modern idiom, the ManKind Project developed the New Warrior Training Adventure, a weekend-long residential workshop structured as a period of self-reflection and initiation into mature masculinity. Closely following the monomyth or “hero’s journey” articulated by mythologist Joseph Campbell, the experiential weekend includes periods described by the MKP as “The Call, Separation, Descent, Ordeal, Initiation, Integration, and Celebration.” The content of these experiences is kept secret in order to protect the experiential nature of the processes; participants are required to sign confidentiality contracts barring them from speaking about what occurs on the New Warrior Training Adventure.

However, a huge percentage of the 51,000 men who have participated in the weekend training enthusiastically describe the NWTA — and the “integration groups” that form of workshop alumni — as a life-changing experience of self-actualization, healing, and integration.

“The experience was transformative for me, says Adam Cummings, a Vancouver-based consultant and NWTA participant. “I remember going into it with my brothers’ guidance to ‘trust the process,’ and I did just that. I discovered a sense of strength, learned how much power there was in my vulnerability and in speaking something that was true for me that I would have otherwise held inside.  I witnessed other men expressing emotion in an authentic and raw way that I’d never seen before in my life, and was deeply moved.”

The MKP is a consciously and intentionally diverse organization, with a huge number of gay, bisexual, queer, and transgender-identified men participating in and serving as leaders for the NWTA. In celebration of this — and to further open up participation for men who may feel uncomfortable doing a mixed workshop with both queer and non-queer men — the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Mankind Project will host their first training adventure aimed specifically at GBTQ men this October.

“The concept of the GBTQ Gateway Weekend originated about ten years ago,” explains Ken Bonnin, a local MKP leader. “The idea is that the men going through the weekend as well as the staff facilitating the weekend are primarily gay, bisexual, queer, and transgender-identified. It creates a safe container for men who just aren’t comfortable doing deep, personal work in a group that is often primarily straight, cisgender men.” Bonnin emphatically points out that queer-identified men are welcomed and valued at all NWTA weekends, and that beyond the demographic outreach, the GBTQ Gateway Weekend does not differ at all in programming from any other NWTA workshop. However, he sees this offering as an experience that benefits both the participants and the MKP organization. “What the Gateway does for this organization is to enrich and deepen it,” he states, “and also to also bring along a group of men who are often left behind in culture — namely gay, bi, and trans men.”

Many queer MKP participants feel that the skills they learned through the training are of critical importance to the queer community at large. “The gay community in our current culture has been influenced by the principles of deceit and shame — hiding out and expose your ‘true self’ only when it’s safe,” says Cummings. “As much as that is changing, it is still for many a core aspect of existence. I believe this work is important for the larger gay community because in its core this work teaches men to act and speak outside of the facade they usually wear,” explains Cummings. “This is very valuable in the hetero-normative community, certainly, but in my experience, there are a lot of facades in the gay community. Sometimes it’s like a double-whammy of having two men, who don’t usually do a whole lot of expressing emotions in our culture, in one relationship.”

“If you get even a small piece of the value I got out of this training, I believe your life will be improved dramatically,” says Cummings. “You don’t have to be broken or in crisis in your life to take a deeper look inside.  Still, though, this work isn’t for everyone. If you’re interested, trust your own intuition.”

An upcoming New Warrior Training Adventure weekends is planned for Washougal, WA on November 14-16; the GBTQ Gateway Weekend is planned for October 3-5 in Washougal. For more information, rates, and registration, visit