Supporting our young people on their journey from childhood to responsible adulthood

                                                   Perth, West Australia

Reijer Groenveld
1) what was your first memory of Rites Together  / How long have you been involved?
It was around 2015 when I heard that a group of previous pathways people did some planning to establish a WA based ROP organisation and came up with the name Rites Together. I know Gavin Marsh , Steve Hammond, Graeme Marshall,  Gary Williams, Rod Saffstrom and Jill Parry formed the basis of the group. The Last pathways camp which I staffed on was in 2015 and after that I joined the newly formed Rites Together group. The organisation was generating a lot of formative energy and an initial camp was held with Elder Eugine Eades down at Nowanup with an indigenous cultural aspect. I then joined the committee of elders later that year.

2) What is your passion for supporting young people in our community?

My passion is driven by my own experience of not being validated as a man by my elders as a young man. The marking of becoming an adult and being acknowledged and welcomed into adulthood is critical for any boy ( or Girl) . It is, in my view, the most important transition into any person’s life. To be seen, acknowledged for who you are and being held responsible for your actions comes with the territory of growing into adulthood. Practising humility and treating others with respect and awareness comes from that ceremony of validation, and is still as relevant for the health and wellbeing and survival of us as a community as it was in the past.

3) What is your dream for young people in our community.

My dream is that all young people go through a transition into adulthood as a normal part of growing up where they are validated, honoured for their gifts and accepted for who they really are.

4) A special moment with Rites Together

The wonderful contributions and display of the feminine strength and vulnerability that the women and mothers bring to each camp is very special and always moves me either at the leaving ceremony or when we return to the community and when honouring their role in their sons life. This is a true privilege to witness and be part of.

5) Funniest moment from a camp or from an individual.

Those moments on the entertainment night where the leaders are being totally shown up as totally ridiculous. I am always surprised how much energy there is from the young men after a night of not much sleep they are able to peak and bring out their best performances.

Individually my most favourite moment has been walking on the bibulmun track with 16 young boys blindfolded and greeting day walkers with curious expressions on their faces

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