April Surprise

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Why Wisdom Council?

[Note: This is a revision of a Menletter essay from 2005. You may also want to read "Why Men's Gatherings?" for a broader overview.]

For 20 years, the annual Men's Wisdom Council at Rowe, Massachusetts, has provided men with a week of fellowship, fun, and spiritual growth. I've just signed up for my fourteenth year. We still need gatherings like the Men's Wisdom Council - not because they have been ineffective, but because there is an ongoing need for affirming and celebrating men in a society that is often hostile to us.]

The Council gathering is an event I would not want to miss, and I want to share some thoughts about it with you.

What It Is

The Men's Wisdom Council is a six-day gathering of 25 to 30 men in a rustic setting in Rowe, Massachusetts. Most of the men come from New England and the eastern seaboard, but men have attended from as far away as California and Mexico. This year (2012) the Council runs from dinnertime Sunday evening, June 12, to lunchtime Friday, June 20.

The Men's Wisdom Council got started in the early '90s, in the middle of a surge of interest in a "men's movement." Under the leadership of Robert Bly and others in the 1980s, men had begun attending weekend and week-long gatherings.

The Wisdom Council gives us the chance to explore, through poetry, myths, and ritual, what it means to be a man.

MWC provides a wide range of activities:

We live in a society, at least in the US, that devalues boys and men and then blames us for becoming caricatures of ourselves. Many of us feel lost - or worse, we have no idea of how lost we are but wonder why so many roads we take are dead ends and blind alleys.

The week at Wisdom Council is a journey, sometimes difficult but mostly entertaining, and often inspiring. Each man's story becomes part of a larger, shared story that we take with us as we continue our journey back into the narrow confines of the so-called real world. It seems that getting away from the everyday can help men become more fully themselves, ultimately to the benefit of their families and communities.

This year (2012), the cost for the week ranges from $560 to $645, depending on income. Scholarships and work/study are available. Work/study may involve some help in food preparation and the like, but it is scheduled so that it doesn't interfere with any Council activities. To inquire (in confidence) about a scholarship, call the Rowe Center at 413-339-4954. To my knowledge, no man has ever been turned away for lack of funds.

I don't think any Council has turned a man away because the roster was full, but signing up soon is probably a good idea. For details, see www.rowecenter.org/pages.php?name=MWC. You can sign up on-line.

Donations to the scholarship fund are always welcome. The Council's scholarship money is kept separate from other funds at the Rowe Center. On the donation page, enter an amount under Other and specify Men's Wisdom Council.

I hope to see you there!

©2013, Tim Baehr, Publisher of Menletter

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