In this episode I chat with Jaclyn Cunningham about:

* the framework of a transformative Rites of Passage experience for teens and their parents, like a Mother-Daughter Retreat

* how she runs retreats like this

* tips for facilitators

* why parents love them and

* how she makes sure they are inclusive.

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Sound bite

The one thing she said at the end of the retreat of what she got out of it was like, mom’s a person too. Hmm. Wow. So yeah, they’ve been, this shift of mum has her own challenges and her own life and all the things. It’s like, oh, if that’s, if that’s what they got out of this, then that’s shifts that relationship in a really beneficial way.

And, um, so I think it’s about, yeah, trusting the, the process.

generic intro

Hello and welcome to the youth mentor podcast. This is your short burst of inspiration tips and research about teens for parents, educators, and mentors. I’m your host, Amanda Rootsey, founder of teen personal development school Shine From Within and coach to incredible youth mentors all over the world. Now I certainly don’t know it all.

So I interview the experts about what’s going on for youth today. From psychological insights to really practical advice, this is your moment of inspiration, motivation, and a few laughs amidst the ever changing world of teens and tweens.

Episode Intro

[00:00:53] In this episode, I chat with Jaclyn Cunningham and I’m so excited to introduce you to Jaclyn because she has such a wealth of knowledge and experience of running rites of passage. Experiences for young people and for their parents. And we had Jaclyn come along to our youth mentor retreat last year, as well and share. 

[00:01:15] Share more about the framework. And, um, it was beautiful to be able to just be in that deep space with her. And so I knew that I really wanted to have her on the podcast and, and get to, to share her with you as well. So, Um, yeah, if you’ve ever thought about hosting rites of passage experiences, or you’d like to learn more about it and really hear the elements that, that make a really healthy. 

[00:01:39] Beautiful nurturing and transformative rites of passage. Um, then this is the episode for you. 

Episode Begins

[00:01:46] Welcome, Jaclyn to the Youth Mentor Podcast. I’m so, so thrilled to have you here and, um, Yeah, to be diving into this topic of, of rights of 

[00:01:56] Passage. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah, thank you for having me. It’s super exciting to be here and share with the community you’ve created and yeah, it’s beautiful.

[00:02:05] Aw, thanks. Yeah. To start us off, would you mind telling us. Just a little bit about you and the work that you do and where you are and all of those lovely things. Yeah, for sure. So I’m in Northern Rivers in New South Wales, um, and my background has been as a high school teacher, um, for five or 10 years, um, on and off.

[00:02:29] Mm-hmm, in the last three or four years I’ve been working as a social worker, so mostly in in youth work in the adolescent age group. And I was lucky enough as part of my Masters of Social work training to do my internship placement with the Rites of Passage Institute, which is located in Mullumbimby.

[00:02:49] So yeah, this area has been a really beautiful place to. Be for the last six or seven years and, uh, learned from the work that’s happening there. Um, and in 2017, so five years ago we started running a Girl’s Rites of Passage program in up near uki, so in the hinterland here. So it’s been once a year since then.

[00:03:12] Um, yeah. And it’s a really beautiful, uh, experience and creative. Side project, um, that I’m really passionate about and, um, compliments, I guess my social work, my full-time social work role. 

[00:03:28] Yeah. Amazing. That’s so cool. And, um, I love the Rites of Passage Institute as well, and we’ve had Dr. Arne Rubenstein as a guest on the podcast, uh, a couple of years ago now.

[00:03:41] Uh, and he talked quite a bit about Rites of Passage for boys specifically. And it was actually a snippet of a, of a masterclass that we have in our youth mentor training. So I’m thrilled to be talking with you today about what it kind of means for, um, for girls, for non-binary, for, uh, how you work it in with mothers and daughters as well.

[00:04:03] Yeah, absolutely. And so I will say my time when I was working with the Rites of Passage Institute, they were transitioning from the making of men to the Rites of Passage Institute with really the intention of doing more work with girls. And they were already training female facilitators, and I did my training with them and they were really supportive in terms of sharing the program.

[00:04:24] And we’ve really based what we do. Um, you know, in, in the framework that’s used there is very similar. Um, to what we do. Um, and then one of the tasks I was given, I guess on my placement was to research girls’ rites of passage and how it was different and um, you know, what was specifically needed in the facilitator trainings.

[00:04:47] And yeah, it was a beautiful opportunity ’cause I could reach out to, uh, women like Jane Bennett and Catherine Krueger and Jane Collins who do specifically girls work, um, and say, Contacting you from the making of men. Men. And will you, you know, have a chat with me about, um, what’s important and what needs to be different.

[00:05:08] And so yeah, it was a really great opportunity to learn, you know, there’s this really powerful transformational framework that, um, is used with the boys and then, you know, What actually needs to be different and adapted and included in, in different ways with the girls, and also had the opportunity in that time to go to New Zealand.

[00:05:29] There’s a girls program there that’s been running for about 15 years. Um, so opportunity to go and participate and observe. Yeah, so really lucky. And yeah, definitely some specific things like probably primarily different is like this focus around, um, traditionally menstruation being, uh, the in initiatory moment for girls, um, and how relevant that is and at what age and, and what that means, um, and some other differences as well.

[00:06:02] Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:06:04] Amazing. Yeah. So what, what is a rite of passage? Let’s start there. . Yeah. Great question. So Rites of Passage can be any point of transition in someone’s life. So it can be death, marriage, birth, divorce, um, any big transition. Um, you know, getting a driver’s license can be your rights of passage or moving out of home or throwing away someone’s childhood toys, that kind of thing. Um, although it can get a little controversial if it’s.

[00:06:36] Um, fits the kind of traditional definition or not. So in adolescence is seen as a, you know, really big transformational time in somebody’s life. Um, and a rites of passage in the sense that we run our programs, um, is. That it’s a healthy, supported, facilitated rites of passage that supports that transition and creates a space like a cocoon space where healthy transformation can happen and things can be let go of, um, in a really supported way that needs to, and there’s time and space to, um, You know, it’s like if there’s a cocoon and some things are getting taken out and some things are getting put in, so, uh, what’s, what’s new that wants to be taken on into that new phase?

[00:07:25] Mm-hmm. Um, so, you know, schoolies can be seen as like a rites of passage, but it’s very different from a facilitated, healthy, supportive, reflective, um, experience and, you know, some, uh, women that I’ve spoken to and trained with will say, unless you face like a significant challenge that where there’s a risk of death, then you haven’t really faced a, a rites of passage experience.

[00:07:53] So, you know, vision quest and Solo quest in nature of people spending five days without water or some really intense. challenge, experience, um, initiative experience, um, is seen as like a traditional, some people will say like, that’s the definition. Mm-hmm. , and if that’s not there, it’s not really, it’s not really the thing.

[00:08:15] Um, and yeah, I would say that. There’s definitely like a facing of acceptance of death when you’re accepting the cycles of life and letting go when moving forward. And, and that’s really important. Um, but it can be done in, you know, really different ways than actually like sitting on a hill for five days without water and seeing if you survive or not.

[00:08:41] So, um, yeah. That makes sense. Hope that makes sense. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. 

[00:08:48] And so, an element of a rites of passage is kind of like something is dying off from your past that you’re not necessarily taking into your future. Yep. Is that if you were to Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. 

[00:09:01] So if we, you know, narrow on the rites of passage work that I do, which is around the adolescents, it’s really around letting go of childhood and celebr.

[00:09:09] It’s a celebration, but also a letting go and a, a really like acknowledgement of the grief of letting go of childhood and. And then a visioning, you know, visionings another core component of who someone’s becoming. Um, and often for the mums on our program, there’s um, that’s a really big part of it. Like the letting go of the child is like, there’s a lot of grief in that and there can be a lot of fear in letting go, um, as well cuz it’s like a.

[00:09:36] Not being able to control what could happen and the risks that are real and, uh, you know, a young person flying the nest, if you like. Um, but yeah, a, a few other really key components, I guess in the, the framework that we use, um, is that, there’s a container, so there’s a bit of time away from ordinary life.

[00:09:59] So that’s like the cocoon to create a beautiful space and there’s no phones and there’s a special environment. Um, and. That’s like a little bubble and it can be created in lots of different ways. And then another one of the, uh, key components is storytelling. So that can be like the stories of the culture and the stories of all of the women that are there.

[00:10:24] And then the young people, uh, learn from the wisdom of those stories about what it means to be an adult and what it means to have relationships and successes and failures and. It’s really about learning from those stories as well as often like the myths and general narratives of the culture. Um, and then the challenge component and the vision component.

[00:10:49] And then there’s the, an honoring and a celebration at the end so that it’s really about seeing and drawing out, uh, each girl’s gifts and, um, what their. Like really honoring their place and contribution and gifts that they have to share within that community. So it’s really. It’s really a community event and where the young person feels like they are then can have their, their place and their role and have valued for who they are in that community.

[00:11:22] That’s a, a big part of it as well. And then finally, the last thing around the piece around integration, um, is that, yeah, it’s kind of challenging when we’re, we’re recreating or, or reintroducing this cultural, um, Experience, I guess, of having a healthy, supported community, facilitated community, held rites of passage and lots.

[00:11:49] The participants from our programs come from Sydney or Melbourne or Brisbane or Cairns, and, and then they go home and, and so, To be seen in that new way, or integrated or honored in that new way when they get home. Um, we can make suggestions about things to do with, with the family and, um, when they get home, but it’s, it’s actually a really tricky piece and it’s really different from if it was.

[00:12:16] A really normal thing that everybody was doing and the whole community that was around that young person that was part of it and witnessed, and that is something that happens more so in the program I went to in New Zealand, it’s a real, um, it’s been established there for so long and it’s actually more the local community around who, um, everyone does that program and they come back as mentors and there’s a massive big community celebration at the end.

[00:12:44] So, Um, I think it’s this contemporary rites of passages new. Um, and it would be really beautiful to see it grow and, and have more of it available. And that, yeah, that integration piece, um, yeah, there’s, there’s always room for improvement there, I guess. Yeah. Amazing. Yeah. 

[00:13:06] Ah, it, hearing you talk about that piece in particular as.

[00:13:12] To me really highlights the importance of, or the benefit of doing it together as a mother and daughter couple, as opposed to just sending the, the child away for the experience on their own, which I, I could see the benefit in that as well. But to have the mother, yeah, going through the whole experience with them and then, and then supporting the integration when they get home would, would be incredible.

[00:13:34] Yeah, absolutely. And I know in New Zealand they started off not doing that. And yeah, there are programs and like you said, there’s, there’s amazing benefit for young people doing it on their own as well. But I think with the mother and daughters, there’s this really like shifting and dynamic. And like I said, for the mums.

[00:13:50] For the mums, it’s a rites of passage as well. Like they’ve been the mom of a baby and a small child that’s been totally dependent. And there’s this massive shift that has to happen for the moms in letting go in that process. I think that often leads to, you know, healthier connection. It’s a bit of a, it’s a bit of a trick.

[00:14:08] Like we, um, it’s not a trick, but we. Promote, I guess the retreats in that one of the benefits absolutely is like a healthy mother-daughter relationship and maintaining that connection and that bond. And that’s something that moms typically really want. And that’s, um, what they’re, they’re coming for, I guess.

[00:14:28] Um, but part of the process when they get there is like, oh, no, actually you have to let go and you need to give them a bit of space and you need to meet them where they are now cuz they’re different and, and give them that space so they can shine and, and be who they are fully. And it’s that change in dynamic I think is yeah, one of the big benefits of having the moms there as well.

[00:14:52] Amazing. 

[00:14:53] Yeah. Ah, it must take a lot of finesse, and experience to facilitate this. To hold, to hold the, yeah, the complications of, of a relationship from birth to now and to, um, manage the ups and downs of both of them individually and, and collectively the moms and collectively the young people, and then bringing them together.

[00:15:18] Yeah. What, what are for, for some youth mentors that are considering running mother-daughter retreats mm-hmm. , do you have any tips or things that you feel like are, are really, really important to, to think about or to consider? when holding that, that kind of relationship.

[00:15:34] together? Yeah, absolutely. It’s a good question.

[00:15:37] Um, we had a couple of facilitators come last year who were brilliant and they run outdoor ed camps that are just for teenagers. Mm-hmm. , um, girls and boys and mixed. Um, and you know, they just said this is so much more difficult. It takes a bit for the girls to get out of the normal dynamic. They’re used to being in their moms and it is, it can be trickier.

[00:16:04] Um, and some of the girls come really willingly and some of the girls shouldn’t come. Really, like mom wants a connection with me, but I don’t want nothing to do with her kind of thing. Mm-hmm. and they’re still there. They still want, want it, but with walls up and defensive, so, um, yeah, it can absolutely tricky. But I think also one of the pieces of advice I got in the beginning was, um, have, uh, some older facilitators who have adult children who can hold that space a bit more for the mums. And we haven’t always been able to do that. Um, and I’m old enough to have teenage children. I just don’t. Um, but that’s really important to have those facilitators and, and support both of the, just being aware that both of the processes need to be supported and held. Um, and different facilitators come with different priorities, I guess. Mm-hmm. . Um, and that’s just something to navigate. But I also think that the, you know, it’s, it’s really quite a magical, um, to witness, like, trusting the process. And I think we’ve done it now that it’s like, ooh, ooh, I don’t know if we’re really gonna get there with these guys.

[00:17:20] And then, you know, the, the process. That works. The magic, like the framework that we’re using is really transformational and does work and it doesn’t, you know, we’ve had girls that have come who have been super resistant to coming. Um, one in particular that I think of, and then on the last day she was still like, I don’t really like it here.

[00:17:42] But, um, you know, the one thing she said at the end of the, the retreat of what she got out of it was like, I see. Mom’s a person too. Hmm. Wow. So yeah, they’ve been, this shift of mom has her own challenges and her own life and all the things. It’s like, oh, if that’s, if that’s what they got out of this, then that’s shifts that relationship in a really beneficial way.

[00:18:05] And, um, so I think it’s about, yeah, trusting the, the process. Yeah. I love that. And that’s such, um, thanks for sharing that too about the different facilitators as well. Um, I’ve run some mother-daughter retreats and I all, and I would never feel comfortable doing it without having another facilitator with me that is quite a bit older, has teenage or adult children as well.

[00:18:30] And I just, and I’ve had people say to me, oh, I, no, you could do it on your own. Yeah, you just reinforced why that’s so important because you Yeah. I love them going off with the young people and then she was fantastic going off with, with the moms and we were able to meet back together and share what each group had kind of, um, discovered about themselves too.

[00:18:51] And yeah, it’s, um, it’s nice to think about it in a really collaborative way as well. And like you said, that it’s the community coming together and supporting. 

[00:19:03] Yeah, absolutely. And I think that, you know, that time where the moms are on their own and the daughters are on their own is a really key component of what you’re saying.

[00:19:12] Mm-hmm. , um, and that there’s time when everyone’s together and the moms and daughters get one on one time. But I think, yeah, having those separate group spaces is super important. Yeah. Great. 

[00:19:26] And so, um, what do you see as some of the key differences when you think about, um, say a boy’s rites of passage and a girl’s rites of passage?

[00:19:36] And in saying that, you know, I always really mindful that there aren’t just two genders. And so how do you incorporate the fluidity of gender as well when you’re talking about these sorts of pivotal moments and facilitating spaces for, for young people to, to have this rites of passage.

[00:20:00] Yeah, big question. I think, um, with the girls, we, we did a focus group, actually did a focus group with Arne at the school.

[00:20:08] I was working out, um, before when we run the retreat and came and, and got about 20 girls and Arne talked about what they did with boys and they talked. , would you wanna do something like this? And what’s important to you and what challenges are you facing? And we’ve got a bit of info from that. Um, and it was really great and lots of the topics were the same.

[00:20:27] They said, we wanna know about experiences of grief or experience of success and failure. And we do have challenges in our relationship with our mom, and we do want that to be better. And so there was a, a lot of real similarities. Um, like absolutely. And I think. becoming a woman, becoming a man, becoming an adult.

[00:20:47] This it, the splitting the genders and the language around becoming a woman, it, it does reinforce those binaries. Mm-hmm. . Um, and so I think there’s a lot to be said around what does it mean to be a mature, responsible adult. Um, at the same time, you know, we live in a very gendered world and we have all this conditioning and, and it’s, I think it’s a really useful place to.

[00:21:13] Um, there’s uh, a guy who does some work in Kas Harbor Monte pmi. He’s, um, also really brilliant. He’s, everyone use gender to transcend gender. Like we start from there and we think, what does that mean? And, and does it really define me? So one of the activities that we do at the retreat, um, came from Mandy, Dante actually, um, when she facilitated with us.

[00:21:38] Getting a whiteboard, I’m pointing up, okay, what’s society’s ideal of a perfect woman? Let’s write down everything that we can think of. And it can come up with all these contradictions. Like, she’s really nice, but she’s assertive and you know, she’s really sexy, but she’s not slutty. And you know, there’s this’s.

[00:21:55] All of these things that you look at on the board and you go, oh my God, that’s impossible. And is that really useful? And, and how does that make you feel? And, and what could we do instead? . I think having the girls by themselves to look at and question that, um, is really useful. And I know that you could do the same for boys, like what’s society’s ideal of the perfect man and the pressures around that and the challenges around that.

[00:22:22] Um, and I absolutely think that there’s value in doing some of those things together or doing them separately and coming together and sharing. . Absolutely. Um, similar with the topics around sex and relationships. I think that, um, having a safe, exclusive place for girls to explore and talk about their experiences and their concerns and fear and, um, is really important to have that as a a girls women’s only space.

[00:22:57] Um, and I also think there’s value. Being shared between what the girls are experiencing and what the boys are experiencing. It’s not something we’ve done. It’s something I’ve had lots of conversations with people about. Um, but the, the precarious of it, um, and you know, the awareness of the facilitators around their conditioning and the male facilit female facilitator team and what that looks like in terms of shared power and.

[00:23:27] It’s so much that, um, there’s potential there. Absolutely. Um, but just hasn’t happened quite yet. And the question around the non-binary, um, and LGBTQI plus. Uh, young people. I think ideally it would be great if there were specifically safe group spaces for, um, young people that identify in that way, to share with each other and share in a way where they’re gonna be safe from judgment and, um, any kind of, um, Harmful conditioning that other people might have around that.

[00:24:08] Um, I think ideally that would be really available. And yeah, last time we, we spoke, I, I shared, um, yeah, that I’ve had the question around trans people coming and, and I we’re absolutely open for, um, young people to come who identify in that way. And we say if they identify as female, um, And we haven’t, we haven’t had that experience yet.

[00:24:36] We’ve, we’ve definitely had facilitators who have been gay and, and girls that have shared around curiosities around that. I know that’s a different question, the sexuality and gender, but, um, yeah, we, we were definitely welcome. Um, and I would just be really conscious of making sure it was a safe place for those young people as well.

[00:24:58] Um, with the other people that were. And yeah, the confusing question that I’ve had recently is someone who wanted to come up with, um, their child who was their daughter and is now transitioning. Um, so if she’s now identifying as male, I still love her to come or him to come. Sorry. But is that the most appropriate thing or would a boys program be most appropriate?

[00:25:24] And that’s, I guess, where I come from, this perspective then of wouldn’t it be great if there was a. Of passage that felt super safe for that young person to, to be in. Yeah. Yeah. It’s um, 

[00:25:39] it’s beautifully messy, isn’t it? It’s like, yeah. So messy , um, Yeah. And it’s a, it’s a good, it’s such a great point I think that you’re bringing up there around, um, you know, ideally it would just be a parent child rites of passage camp, and we could all be together.

[00:25:55] But when you look at the way that we’ve been socialized and mm-hmm. , um, what you shared there around dynamics of power and, um, and so when you consider that some of those sorts of things, um, Then having separate spaces for marginalized groups is always going to be so supportive for them. Um, and we could say the same thing about a girl’s only space too, I suppose, as opposed to, to not allowing boys, men to be a part of that space, particularly if there’s any kind of trauma or something else going on for the young people.

[00:26:29] All the, all the moms. Yeah. Um, yeah. So it’s, um, It’s, it’s such an interesting conversation and something to keep having conversations about, I guess, isn’t it? Because I 

[00:26:42] think that’s the thing, isn’t it? Being willing to kind of have the messy conversations and be like, I don’t really know and I’m not a trans person.

[00:26:50] And so I don’t know. We’re actually, um, but yeah, with the intention of wanting to make it safe, safe, inclusive, as possible. And I think, yeah, like what you said about the, that safe space for girls and moms, it’s, you know, there. So often sexual assault trauma in the group, it’s almost inevitable with a group of size if you look at the statistics.

[00:27:12] And I think that it’s, yeah, having that safe space to share is really important. And I think that like addressing that in the, with the boys and other groups is really important, um, in having those conversations together. Um, But yeah, there’s, like I said, it’s just precarious. Yeah. Yeah. And really important to think through really well of how to be, how to be safe with that.

[00:27:46] Yeah. Mm-hmm. 

[00:27:47] I love hearing how flexible you are with it too, of like, if this mom wants to bring along her son to a mother-daughter retreat. Mm-hmm. I know that you mentioned last time we talked about this mm-hmm. , you know, before we had our, before we started recording mm-hmm, you mention you’re just gonna go and talk to the student and see if this is a space that they would actually feel comfortable.

[00:28:07] And if not, you know, you can make recommendations. 

[00:28:10] Exactly. And like I said, like they’re on the girls basketball team, so it’s more about they comfortable with the language of the retreat being so much around, um, the girls and women and daughters. Um, and, you know, how can we adapt that in a way that then that is, um, feels more inclusive.

[00:28:31] You know, within the limitations of what we’re doing is really, you know, out there for mothers and daughters. Um, yeah, yeah, too. It’s, it’s tricky. But I guess the other thing, um, that came up when you were speaking before is that the mother daughter dynamic and the father daughter dynamic I think are often very different thing with mother, son and father son.

[00:28:54] So the, the parent child or the. You know, step parents and child, how many parents can you, can you bring kinda thing and then what does that look like? My, my family would be real messy. Um, and you know, that’s not to say that having, um, experiences that foster a healthy father-daughter connection, that’s definitely super important.

[00:29:21] Um, and I know the Rites of Passages Institute has weekend camps for your younger children at seven to 11. With their dads. And um, yeah, I think that’s definitely important. And then I think the motherhood dynamic is really specific in, um, in terms of like a young person developing their identity and.

[00:29:43] Their agenda in the culture that we live in is so much part of our identity. So learning about that, the experience of other, other women, I think is really core to that. Um, so that’s specifically what we do, um, the, the girls and women. And yeah, it doesn’t mean that any of the other combinations wouldn’t be valuable or even necessary.

[00:30:08] Um, It’s, we’re just, we’re just doing this one thing. 

[00:30:13] Yeah. Yeah. We can’t do it. We can’t do everything, can we? We can’t. Yeah. Be there for every single, every single combination, like you said, . Um, yeah. But we can be as inclusive as possible with Yeah. Kind of who, who feel like resonates with what you’re doing and wants to come along I suppose.

[00:30:31] Yeah. And that whole really important conversation of how those other relationships are held and, and nurtured and. What needs to be happen for a a teenage girl? She becomes an adult. How does her relationship with her dad change and what does that look like and how that can be held well, helps a really important, um, thing to consider.

[00:30:51] Um, yeah. 

[00:30:55] Oh, wow. And so you mentioned, uh, in the beginning that often rites of passage can be around for, especially, especially for, for young, um, females. Mm-hmm. , um, it can be a lot around having their first period. Mm-hmm. Um, but it sounds like with your mother-daughter retreats, it’s a little bit more open in terms of age group, is that right?

[00:31:16] Yeah, absolutely. So our age group is 13 to 17. Mm-hmm. . So, um, most of the girls who are coming have started bleeding previous to that. Um, some might not be or might have medical condition or whatever medication that they’re on. That means that. Um, not bleeding or not going to, and, and so we’re, there’s, there needs to be an awareness around that.

[00:31:39] I think that’s important for, um, people to consider. Um, but we definitely have a, uh, section in the retreat where we talk about menstrual cycle awareness and um, wellbeing around that. And we actually, facilitators come and we have a guest facilitator come, um, for that session. And it’s really around connection with body and connection with cycles and, and resting when you’re bleeding and being active when you’re ovulating and, and tracking your cycles.

[00:32:12] And it’s a lot around being in touch with their bodies. And, um, there’s a lot of great, there’s a lot of research out there around the importance of celebrating the, um, Menarchy for the first bleed and, and how shame around that can actually lead to all kinds of body image issues and, and mental health issues.

[00:32:34] Because there’s this, if we think that our body is gross or we’re shame for something that’s really normal and beautiful and life giving creates, you know, some unhealthy relationships with, um, our bodies. So I definitely really value having that as part of the retreat experience. And often it’s really.

[00:32:54] Um, new awareness for a lot of the girls and a lot of the moms and, and the moms can share about their experiences. Um, and at the same time, it’s not a focus because there’s a lot of different programs well, in this area, and there’s the celebration day for girls and um, programs around Australia. Um, you know, period parties and the work that Lucy Peach does.

[00:33:22] And I think having a, a mini rites of passage, a celebration around that experience is really important. Um, and then I think the older teenage years, it’s, it’s like a, it’s like another kind of transition and it’s, and even with the retreats as. Adolescence is quite a few years. So there’s this moment of starting bleeding or there’s this moment of coming on a retreat like this at 15 and there’s still on, it’s still an ongoing phase of transition.

[00:33:50] I think they’re all markers and it’s good to have that supported celebration throughout that time altogether. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:33:59] It’s, it’s interesting hearing you talk about the different age groups too. I was just, I sign up for all these free courses on, I think it’s on edX or something, and I’m doing one at the moment around developmental psychology.

[00:34:12] Mm-hmm. . Um, yeah. And, and the, what I was just learning about yesterday was around, um, rights of passage as well. But hearing you say that stuff about the age groups reminded me that they were talking about how now. Adolescence is really extended out to kind of 25, even older because we’re still at home and we’re still like, there’s just so many of those.

[00:34:38] Important points that we haven’t quite had to face yet or we haven’t had to. Um, if you’re lucky, I suppose to be lucky to be home at the age of 25. 

[00:34:47] Yeah. 

[00:34:47] Yeah. And so having multiple rights of passage experiences that are positive and that are, um, nurtured and fostered in beautiful ways would just have such a big impact on the sort of adult that you become, I imagine.

[00:35:02] Yeah, I think so. And yeah, there’s a couple of things. Imagine there. Someone comes on a Rights of Passage retreat or has an experience like that at age 15, and then they go home and they’re recognized they’re not a child anymore. We’ve had this celebration. You’re an adult now and there’s shift in the relationship dynamic.

[00:35:20] Um, and you know, maybe there’s more negotiation or more independence given or something like that. At the same time, they might still live at home till they’re 25 . So there is, and you know, there’s still parental responsibility till they’re 18 and, and there’s still an awareness that it’s, yeah, it’s a gradual shift over time.

[00:35:40] And I think any, um, transition can be really celebrated, like moving out of home to have that be a really special occasion and supported and have family around sharing stories of their first experience moving out of home and, um, Yeah, I think all of that really, really, um, yeah. Nurtured along the way.

[00:36:01] Yeah definitely. Yeah. They, yeah, they talked about, you know, marriage, having a first child, all of those things historically happened so much younger that during those adolescent years, yeah. 

[00:36:15] Yeah. Uh, and so, um, with your mother-daughter retreats, how long do they go for? So they’re four days. Um, Yes. Um, we started off doing them three days actually, and the first one that we ran was like, yep, that’s great.

[00:36:33] Um, and then the second one that we ran, the feedback that we got was like, we need another day. Um, cuz it can take a bit of time and that particular one, especially for girls that might be a bit shy, a bit anxious to really like drop in and feel comfortable and really start, um, Shining, um, and expressing themselves a little bit more.

[00:36:57] And I was like, oh, let’s, let’s hold them there for another day, um, to really be in that. So, um, yeah, four days at the moment, or I’d love to do five or a week or , but at the moment it’s four and it’s at, you know, a super lovely retreat center, um, with twin rooms and all of that. And yeah. We’ve talked a lot about doing like a, more of a camping based one and then it’s more affordable to do it for a bit longer.

[00:37:29] Um, at the moment we find the four days and the venue we’re using and, and everything works really well. So 

[00:37:37] it’s beautiful. And you mentioned that sometimes you have facilitators come along, um, that are there just to sort of see what you’re doing. Is that something that you do each time you run the retreats?

[00:37:49] do you, do you welcome in people that are interested in learning this kinda framework with you? Yeah, we’ve only started doing that last year. Um, and we’ll have someone coming along this year as well. So, uh, there was actually a mom who was booked and then something happened with her, the schedules and, and her daughter couldn’t make it.

[00:38:07] Um, she’s a social worker as well, so we’ve kind of said people that have done some facilitated training somewhere else, or some youth mentor training or worked with young people. Um, and have some experience and, um, then you can have the opportunity to come and observe the program and observe the facilitation and, you know, contribute ideas.

[00:38:28] And I think, you know, after each session we sit all together as a team and, and debrief. And I think, yeah, I think watching other people facilitate and observing how. Things impact the dynamic of the group. It’s a, um, definitely a learning experience. So yeah, if there was anyone interested who was listening, um, they could definitely agree to get in touch and they can chat with that a bit more.

[00:38:52] Um, yeah, and I think we spoke when we spoke before the call as well, I said one of the, the visions is to have a, a fully immersive facilitator training. Um, but at the moment, yeah, definitely. Open to have people who were keen to come along and also really open to sharing the program and, and supporting people in, um, program creation.

[00:39:17] And, and like I said, the framework that we use is really based on the work of Dr. Arne Rubenstein and then we’ve adapted it for girls and for the venue and for the different, you know, unique contributions of the facilitators. And I think that, um, I’m really happy to share that because I think that no one’s going to.

[00:39:36] uh, something in exactly the same way, and everyone brings a little bit of their magic. And I think it’s, it’s more magic that people make it their own creative, uh, process. Um, but I think that the core framework that’s there is so powerful and simple actually, um, that, yeah, I really to share that. Amazing.

[00:39:58] Ah, that’s wonderful to hear. And I know that you, um, the, the way that we became connected was because one of the people that have come through our youth mentor training, um, is really involved with your mother daughter retreats as well. 

[00:40:10] Hey. Yeah, absolutely. And um, yeah, thank you for mentioning that because as I said, um, earlier, I, there was the influence of when I did the research around girls were out to passage, other women.

[00:40:22] Spoken to, and then I teamed up with Gabrielle Goldklang who’s done your training. Um, and she’s, she’d done some training with some of those other women that I’ve mentioned before, and she bought a really beautiful experience, um, and had never done the Rites of Passage Institute training or any of that. And it was a really great, I think part of what’s actually important in, in running these programs.

[00:40:47] And we touched on it before, the necessity to have a, a collaborative team, um, that it’s not actually something that’s very well held by one person. Um, you know, and having a team that works well together and um, can bounce off each other really creates that, that feeling of it.

[00:41:07] We’re holding it as a, a community. Um, yeah, so Gabrielle’s been, yeah. Hugely involved in writing the, the program in the beginning, um, with another woman, Mira, who, um, was a older woman, had adult children. She’d done the mother’s process, um, with Anna quite a bit. So, um, that’s how we met her. And yeah, then since then, Gabrielle’s had her own little daughter, who’s now four.

[00:41:37] And yeah, there’s been some, some movement, but she’ll be facilitating. Um, with us this year again, which is super exciting. 

[00:41:45] Yay. So, if parents or anyone else listening really wanted to, to check out your retreats, where can they find out the information? Yeah, so the website 

[00:41:56] is mother daughter retreats.com.au.

[00:41:59] So simple. 

[00:42:02] mother daughter retreats.com au. And are you on Instagram with the same name as well? Yeah. 

[00:42:08] Yes, the same name? Yes. Yeah. 

[00:42:10] Yeah. Fantastic. 

[00:42:12] Uh, we just, I’m always surprised at how many people reach out to us weekly about wanting another mother-daughter retreat.

[00:42:20] Um, so it’s really wonderful to know that there are lots, lots of different ways that, that, that can be facilitated and that, um, and that you’ve got one coming up. Incredible. Um, and I, yeah, I just love that collaborative nature as well. And that reminder, . Um, there can never be too many people doing this kind of thing.

[00:42:43] You can’t mm-hmm. you can’t do it wrong. Really. You know, like there’s, you’re gonna bring your own flavor to it and, um, as long as you know how to hold that space well for everyone, and you, you do it in a collaborative way, um, and you don’t mind kind of reaching out to other organizations too, and volunteering and really getting a sense of what, what it, um, the different ways that it.

[00:43:08] Happen and, and the different energies that people bring and like you said, how that can, um, change the dynamics of the group. It’s just so valuable about stuff, isn’t it? 

[00:43:17] Mm-hmm. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I mentioned tides program in New Zealand before. The way they run their programs over there is like so vastly different.

[00:43:28] Um, you know, a lot of the components of the framework are definitely. . Um, yeah. But such a rich learning experience to be there and observe and, and see the processes and, and I think any time when there’s that space created for some intentional, uh, growth in that relationship between mother and daughter, it’s always a beautiful thing to witness and be part of.

[00:43:54] Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:43:56] Oh, it seems so nice. I feel like we could chat forever about this and about all sorts of things. 

[00:44:02] Jaclyn very quickly that time. 

[00:44:05] Thank you so much. Having a chat and having me on the podcast. It’s really, yeah, it’s really exciting to be able to share with more people and, um, yeah, super happy people to reach out. They wanna know more or have any questions or anything like that. 

[00:44:19] Yeah. Great. Yeah, I feel like we really got, um, I feel really honored that we got such a deep insight into your mother-daughter retreats and the way that you weave rights of passage through that experience, because a lot of other mother-daughter retreats, including our own, um, are not really.

[00:44:37] or haven’t intentionally set out to, to lead it through a rite of passage. So to hear the specifics of that is really, really special and, um, sounds so, so powerful. Yeah. 

[00:44:48] Nice. Thank you. Thanks, Jaclyn.


[00:44:52] How great is Jaclyn. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. I hope you got lots out of it. Please always feel welcome to reach out to us and, and let us know what you took away from it. Um, make sure that you, you subscribe and share and all the good things so that we can get this podcast out to as many beautiful caring adults as we can. 

[00:45:13] And check out Jaclyn’s work. You can head to mother-daughter retreats.com that I use to see when their next retreat is coming up. And, um, yeah, check out the show notes. Uh, for, for all the other links and wonderful things, we’ve got. So many incredible episodes still to come on the youth mentor podcast. And I’m, I’m just so honored that you’re here and, and, and listening in. So thank you again for being with us. See you in the next one.

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