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A living laboratory for a sustainable human future.

Rites of Passage for Teens

by Arjuna da Silva

This past year, Michelle Dionne and Brent Hickey’s mutual interest and experience in mentoring youth found a ripe group of adolescents, at and near Earthaven, eager to work with them towards meaningful rites of passage. The program went so well that they’ve planned a year-long journey with local teens starting this coming March. The two interwoven circles, ages 12 to 17—one for girls and one for guys—are designed “to re-weave the web of support throughout our community, guiding our young people to become capable, healthy adults who feel empowered to help the culture heal.”

Michelle writes: “Throughout human history, communities gathered around their young to guide them into maturity, teaching them the skills necessary to sustain life and helping them discover their unique gifts. Tribal cultures realized each person playing their role effectively was essential to the survival of the tribe as a whole.…

“Our intent is to help our young people deepen their sense of belonging and purpose. As they explore and develop their gifts and become more skillful, they get to put them into action through community service. Our focus includes earth skills, hands-on projects, nature-based ceremonies and healthy teenage sexuality.”

Michelle began teaching and mentoring adolescent girls eight years ago, bringing herbal medicine, healing dance, ceremony, tribal culture, homesteading, and sacred relationship to her work. Brent’s Bachelor’s in Counseling and Psychology has been useful in various settings—serving orphans, homeless and special needs youth, directing camps and apprenticeship programs, counseling at-risk youth, teaching photography, as well as managing community service projects. For more information, please visit their website at

Brent Hickey, mentoring, Michelle Dionne, rites of passage, teens

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