Team Overland Logo


The 501c3 Files: TEAM OVERLAND

From the November Ashland Sneak Preview

In 2008, Matthew Havniear deployed as a Marine to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His company found themselves embroiled daily in heavy firefights. The city was in ruins, mined and dangerous. Upon his return from Afghanistan in 2010, Matt was diagnosed with service connected Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Concussion Syndrome. He struggled with the symptoms and searched for healthy outlets, but only found long waits and clinical approaches from doctors. Knowing that he needed to find a better outlet for stress management, he immersed himself in volunteer work. During these first few months back Matt  realized that he was benefitting from being part of a team and serving the community but he knew he needed more.

Matt’s late father Dale Havniear, was an avid outdoorsman and taught Matt the importance of staying connected with nature. So Matt made efforts to get out on the land, but mostly only made solo trips. One day Matt was out with a fellow vet driving through the woods when they started talking about the restorative power of the wilderness. It was on this trip that the idea for Team Overland was created. Matt and his friend realized that it was the combination of being part of a team and staying connected to nature that could help vets reintegrate into civilian life. The military teaches you that being part of a team is crucial to survival and there are few opportunities out there to combine teamwork with the healing power of being out in nature in civilian life.overlandphoto

So what is Team Overland? Essentially it is organized outdoor adventures. Overlanding is defined as self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. Typically, but not exclusively, it is accomplished by mechanized off-road capable transport  (Team Overland prefers Toyota Trucks and 4Runners) and tent camping.

Team Overland provides trips to veterans that are looking for a healthy way to manage their personal stress. They provide camaraderie, encouragement and a support system for veterans suffering from not only mental disorders, but also physically wounded soldiers as well.

After the military, many veterans feel disconnected and alone. They experience a lack of camaraderie as they return to the civilian world. The way you need to work together on these Overland adventures gives vets a way to re-wire their brains. Previous associations of off-trail dusty driving as a potentially life ending trip changes into a fun and exciting way to hang out with friends and to see areas of our beautiful Southern Oregon that most of us don’t get to see.

Matt describes Team Overland in his own words: “We encourage members to positively manage their stress by providing healthy social environments and by planning activities that improve cognitive coping skills. We inspire our team members, and encourage veteran reintegration. On the trail, we work as a team to overcome the obstacles encountered on the way to our destinations. Team Overland is unique in that it is not exclusive to just military members. We want to have an impact on veteran reintegration and we believe that that  it is only possible by having an organization with veterans and civilians working together. At Team Overland, we value and lean on our non-military members. We noticed early on that the civilians were passionate about “sharing the burden” of service. We have found that our approach builds bonds between military and non-military members through the shared interest of outdoor adventure and teamwork on the trail.”

In addition to providing these adventures, Team Overland frequently hosts fundraisers for other worthy causes.  Their next Overland Adventure is a guided trip to the beautiful Upper Rogue River to one of their favorite and secret spots. Remember, Team Overland is not just for vets, so if you want to find out where their secret spot is, visit them at Also, we shouldn’t have to say this, but women can obviously be veterans too, and Team Overland has taken groups of all women Overlanding. If you have a warm spot in your heart for a locally grown non-profit that is providing a service that is unique for our veterans. Please visit their site and donate. 

Activity is Down, Prices are Up in the Rogue Valley

The latest statistic for home sales have come out, and they tell a slightly unsurprising story. At least for those of us in the housing market. And that is that while the median sales price is on the rise, the number of homes sold has declined over this some period of time last year. There are many ways to read stats, but this is how I look at it. Number of sales is down about 10% from this time last year. And the number of homes available is also down about 10%. I think there is a correlation there. Couple that with the days on market is down 13%, it tells me a story that there would be more sales if there were more houses for sale. Prices are up across Jackson County about 9% year over year. But I believe we are getting to a point where sellers need to be Image titlea little cautious to think that that trend will continue into 2017.

Wages are not rising 10% a year, so at some point there will be a leveling off of the value of homes that are affordable by the local buyer.

The one area that the stats show an increase in the number of units sold though is new construction. After many years of no construction, the demand for new homes is certainly there, and evident in the stats.

If you would like a more detailed set of statistics emailed to you, drop me a line at

#COTM Resolve

imgres-1The 503c3 Files
By: Adam Bogle

(formerly Mediation Works)

I don’t think it matters if you are a Republican, Democrat, Socialist, or Tea Partier (calling them Partiers kinda makes me want to be one), I think one thing everyone can agree on is that the criminal justice system in this country is completely broken. With more people incarcerated per capita then almost every country in the world, this is definitely an issue this country needs to do something about. The question is what…and is anyone doing anything about it already?
The good news around here is that there is a local non-profit who is tackling this issue, and making a real difference in people’s lives. Just one part of what Resolve does is a Restorative Justice program, and when young people are involved, there is a program called Victim Assistance, Youth Accountability (VAYA). Their key goal is not to punish an individual who has committed a crime by incarceration, but instead to heal the relationships that have been harmed as a result of the crime.
As they refer to it, there is a ripple effect for every action we take…either good or bad…and when an individual commits a crime, the victim is affected in ways that the “criminal” doesn’t recognize. And when faced with the results of the ripple effect, both the criminal and the victim can come together to make things right.
One local story involves a young man named Alex. (While most everything at Resolve is confidential, Alex came forward publicly with his story) When in his teenage years, Alex had a bad relationship with alcohol, and regularly drank to the point of being disoriented and out of control. On one such evening, Alex was drinking and wandering the neighborhood with no real idea of where he was. Not being able to find his way home, he punched his arm through a neighbors window and proceeded to pass out on their couch.
Imagine the surprise and feelings the neighbor had when she found a strange man in her house. Police were called, and Alex was charged with Burglary and Criminal Mischief.
This case could have gone through the justice system, and had large impacts on Alex’s life and prospects for his future. Instead, he went through a month long program with VAYA where he learned of the ripple effect caused by his actions including the fear he had created for the victim.
Alex and the neighbor agreed to meet in person (with assistance) and had the opportunity to talk about the incident so that they could repair the harm and move forward. It was a successful and powerful meeting. The neighbor saw that Alex was not the scary criminal she saw when she found him in her house, but a kid who was going through a rough patch in his life. She also got to see that he understood the negative effects that he had caused in her life.
Four years later, Alex called Resolve out of the blue to thank them for the positive impact that VAYA had on his life. Alex said “There hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I didn’t think of VAYA, the impact it left upon me was tremendous. I constantly wonder how different my life would look behind bars in a cell in Portland.” Alex is currently serving in the Marine Corp. He says “I want my career after the military to have affiliations with restorative justice programs similar to Mediation Works (now Resolve).”
And this story represents just one arm of what Resolve does. They teach Mediation to local schools, organizations and community workplaces. In fact, I personally went through one of their training sessions just a couple of months ago. One of the volunteer jobs I have is to be an Ombudsman for the local Realtor Association, to help resolve conflict that Realtors or the public have with each other in the event of a bad real estate transaction.
Resolve also provides professional Mediation and Facilitation services in the valley. For more information, to get help or to donate or volunteer: go to They are located at 1237 N Riverside Ave #25 in Medford. (541) 770-2468

Appraisals are slower and more expensive than ever. What’s up with that?

Why do you hire a Realtor? Because things change in the market ALL of the time.

It is what keeps it interesting for people like me who like change. Not all change,  ( I do not particularly care for loose change – I gotta jar for that)  but most change keeps things from getting dull and static.

So the latest issues we are having are with appraisals, and/or appraisers.

This is a function of a system in Oregon that makes getting licensed to be an appraiser very time consuming, expensive and difficult. And the regulations put on them by legislation what was passed in the wake of the financial meltdown of the mid 2000s, such as Dodd-Frank, made filling out the paperwork onerous, and put appraisal management companies in as middlemen who take a cut of the appraisers money.

The main hurdle is that appraisers must do an apprenticeship with an existing appraiser. But with the existing system, there is not incentive for an appraiser to take a new person under their wing. It basically just costs them more time, and there is no personal benefit. So at this time, it is my understanding that there are very few appraisers waiting to come into the system. Too much red tape, and not enough profit.

Add that to appraisers retiring, and business being very brisk at the moment, there aren’t enough people for the job. What's Up With Appraisals?

Which leads to 3 big things I am seeing.

1. The average appraisal in our area right now is out almost 4 weeks, and compared to other areas of the state that is actually good. If you are looking in Klamath County, it is closer to 8 weeks

2. Appraisers are cherry picking the easy appraisals, and passing on the more difficult ones. What appears to be happening with the difficult ones then is they fall to the bottom rung of appraisers who are so bad at their job that they can’t get hired unless no one else wants it. So the hardest appraisals are going to the least qualified appraisers.

3. Lenders are offering extra money (charged to buyers generally) to get their appraisal picked up quicker. So they add a Rush charge of a couple hundred bucks. But that just pushes out the buyers who are waiting their turn longer, and to compete they have to pay more money.

Okay, so that was just sort of complaining. What can we do about it is the question. Knowing that it takes 45-60 days to close a house with a loan is one thing. Added patience is needed.

Ordering the appraisal as quickly as possible. This actually hurts potential buyers, because they could pay for an appraisal on a house, then discover that the foundation is bad. I like to have inspections completed before spending the money on the appraisal, but that is getting harder to do in this market.

We as Realtors have been working on this issue with the legislature and the Appraisers board to try to solve if for a couple of year now.

But what we need are consumers who have been hurt by this challenge to complain to their legislators and work on getting a fix. Because as the appraisers keep retiring, this problem is just going to get worse.


The Maslow Project: From getting help to giving back

501c3 Files

The Maslow Project

By Adam and Sophia Bogle

This is a success story about a young woman who was helped by the Maslow Project. And while it is your quintessential success story with the best kind of happy ending, it is only one of hundreds of stories of success that have been made possible through The Maslow Project.

What is the Maslow Project? Simply put, they are a local non-profit organization that provides advocacy and supportive services to homeless youth and their families. It is named after the psychological theory proposed by Abraham Maslow in 1943. Here is a basic synopsis: The most basic physiological needs of food and shelter must be met before the basic safety needs of health, well-being and a sense of belonging can be met and only when these are met to some extent can people start to address the human need to do well at something and then to give back.

Now on to our story. Serina Quast was a junior in high school when she first heard of The Maslow Project. Her high school counsellor had noticed that Serina, after having been a really good student had dropped her grades dramatically and had basically dropped out of school.  When she met with Serina to check in, she explained that her parents were going through a tough divorce and it was hard for her to be around at home so she started staying with friends and relatives. The Maslow Project definition of being homeless is any living situation that lacks fixed, adequate and regular nighttime housing. Thank goodness for counsellors that are on their game!

Maslow Project assigned Serina a Case Manager who made sure that wherever Serina was staying was safe and acted as her advocate to help her get food stamps.  Serina was blown away by the level of caring and told me: “I found it surprising that there were so many people willing to help me to succeed and that my community wanted that (success) for me. Walking with my class at graduation was one of my proudest moments. I realized I did that. I put in the work.” After high school she went on to college in Portland and graduated with highest honors. Then, to bring this story up to date, Serina heard through Facebook that there was a job opening at Maslow Project and she jumped at the chance to give back. She started working the front desk and is now the Community Outreach Coordinator where she goes out to talk to people about what Maslow Project does and what it did for her. This really is the ultimate fulfillment of Maslow’s theory.

I asked her what she would like to say to other kids out there having a hard time and  this is what she said: “You are not alone. There are so many people out there who care. And that we (Maslow Project) are here and that it’s not just us. There is a whole community of people that believe in this mission of supporting homeless youth and their families.” She added that “Success is different for everyone. It could mean high school, or GED or even getting away from drugs, or escaping domestic violence. My story is not really typical. The average age of kids we help is ten years old and usually it is the whole family that is experiencing homelessness.”

While the resource center is a handy place for meetings and distributing supplies, the folks at the Maslow Project aren’t just waiting for kids to walk through the door. Their focus is on reaching out to meet youth where they are. They have teams that go out on the street and they have school-based outreach with case managers and family advocates in both Jackson and Josephine counties. If you are in need of some help yourself you can call (541) 608-6868.

One of The Maslow Project’s best fundraising events is coming up October 1st: The Southern Oregon Smoked Salmon Festival. Come out to support a really effective and passionate organization that is making a huge difference in our community.

Go to for more information.

ScienceWorks is for Playing with Science

501c3 Files

By Adam and Sophia Bogle

Science Works Hands-On Museum

I will fully admit that science was not my favorite subject in school, and that I do not get warm fuzzy feelings when I think of going to museums. So you well may wonder why I am writing this article at all. And here is the thing. I was talked into going to ScienceWorks by some friends (smart friends) and found that it is nothing like my boring science classes and also nothing like the “don’t touch anything” museums I remembered at all! I also thought it would just be for kids but nothing could be farther from the truth. When my wife, Sophia and I went to go check it out the first time, we completely lost track of time and spent hours exploring and discovering and just playing. Sophia’s favorite is the air tube where you can fold paper and make it fly; that and the bubble room! Personally, I just love to play in Divinci’s garage. The pegboard marble wall is wonderful due to its sheer simplicity. Time seems to vanish in this room as I connect pieces of wood, and pipes and springs to watch a marble make it’s way down the wall. 

ScienceWorks really has something for everyone. Want to solve a Rubik’s Cube or surround yourself in a giant bubble?  Or how would you like to learn to cut through a piece of metal with the energy of a pepperoni stick meat torch?  Just today I was wandering around the place and saw a very grandmotherly type at one exhibit playing with blocks building a tower while talking to a friend. And elsewhere 7 year old boys were tossing bolts at magnets to see if they could make them stick. Everyone gets to play at ScienceWorks!

There are many different programs at ScienceWorks, including a fantastic summer intern program that provides opportunities for high school students to volunteer and grow through the experience of taking leadership and the responsibility of the experience for others. I was talking with one of their interns, Jordan, about what he liked about being an intern at ScienceWorks. He proudly told me this is his second summer interning and that he had more than 150 volunteer hours in so far. His favorite part is helping the younger children learn, and getting to know them on a personal level. 

Asha, is a senior intern this year who had been told from some friends that it was a great place to get her volunteer hours she needed for school. Yesterday she was dissecting plants with 5-8 year olds. Boring, right? But it apparently it wasn’t. Because the plants were carnivores and inside were the bugs that had been caught who upon the dissection of the plant were freed from their captor…only to be pounced upon by 7 children with tweezers and magnifying glasses. I won’t tell you what happened next, but Asha said that “parts and pieces ended up in my hair, and it was completely gross…it was really awesome.” 

A great example of a ScienceWorks success story is Heather, who used to visit ScienceWorks on school field trips. She was so inspired by the unstructured yet playful and scientific environment that she decided to study science in school. This led to a degree from SOU, and then on to a PHD from Stanford University where she has continued what ScienceWorks started for her. Currently she is working in the field of battery technology.

And I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention beer. In the fall ScienceWorks puts on Brews and Boogie. With various microbreweries and restaurants providing libations, live music and awesome carnival games.  We attended the annual fundraising event for the first time last year, and it is now a must attend event for us. The highlight was certainly the fire shooting carnival game that seemed like it was straight out of a CBS Survivor challenge, where you shot a tennis ball from a giant slingshot…and if you hit the target a fire cannon shot huge fireball into the air. 

We love this place. The people who work there love the place. The people who volunteer love the place. The only people who seem to not love ScienceWorks are the people who have never been and think it is either a place for kids, or a boring museum. Become a member or just go visit. You will not be disappointed! 

To see all of the amazing things they do and to become a member, visit their website at  

Pokemon Though Town to Learn The Area

Have you been hearing the fanfare and craze that has been the Pokemon Go game?IMG_2729

I am finding it to be rather amusing. This game is based off of another game by Niantic (which is actually Google)  The other game is called Ingress, and is a location based game that is worldwide. It was the biggest game in the world that no one had ever heard of. It was a combination of geocaching and capture the flag.

One of the things you did when you played Ingress was you found places of art, worship, and places of historical interest and took pictures to submit to Ingress to become “portals”.

This was brilliant on the game makers part, because they got real world locations and pictures geotagged without having to go out and take the pictures themselves.

And it is this platform that they based the Pokemon Go game on.

Now what does this have to do with real estate you might ask?  Not too much. But it is a great way to get to know a new area. Because to play the game, you need to find all of these places of interest.

Even after having living in Ashland for 10 years, and the Rogue Valley for 15, when I started playing Ingress a couple of years ago I found all kinds of parks and statues and churches, etc…. that I didn’t have any idea where they were before, or even that they existed.

And when I travel to new towns, I play the game to get to see the details in the town that otherwise I miss. For instance my wife and I went to the Sundial Bridge in Redding and the botanical park there because we were playing this silly game. But that bridge is really cool, and I am glad I got a chance to see it.

And if you are in the Rogue Valley playing Pokemon Go…I can tell you where every portal in the valley is. So when we are looking at houses to buy…I’ll point them out so you can capture them, or fight imaginary creatures, or whatever it is one does in Pokemon Go.

Rogue Valley Farm to School

501c3 Files

by: J. Adam and Sophia S.W. Bogle

Rogue Valley Farm to School

Cultivating healthy kids, environmental stewardship, farm relationships and the local economy.

Have you heard the story of the well meaning Italians who go to Zambia to teach the people how to grow tomatoes? Well, they worked together and grew some magnificent tomatoes and as soon as they were ripe, 200 hippos came out of the river and ate them all. The bewildered Italians expressed their dismay and the Zambians calmly said: “That’s why we have no agriculture here.” And the Italians exclaimed:”Why didn’t you tell us?” And the Zambians’ reply tells the whole story here: “You didn’t ask.” (This is from a TED talk by Ernesto Sirolli posted in November 2012.) The title of the talk is “Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! 

I don’t know if anyone at Rogue Valley Farm to School (RVF2S) has ever heard this TED talk, but they certainly take the principle to heart. While they have a very clear mission statement (see below), they don’t have a singular path to get there. 

Instead, they work with each school individually and they ASK them what they would like to focus on. Here are just a couple of the stories of how they are not imposing their tomatoes on anyone.

At Phoenix High School, RVF2Ss FoodCorps service member, Karen Tassinari worked with teacher, Jim Janousek who wanted to focus on creating a community event with his students. The event was designed to promote awareness of and generate support for the amazing work the students were doing to grow their garden, care for vegetable starts, and of course; the harvest! The Phoenix High School students hosted the Community Garden Party and Barbecue to coincide with the Future Farmers of America students’ annual plant sale as a way to generate more exposure to the garden and integrate the two classes. The students planned the whole event with the guidance of both Janousek and Tassinari. They formed committees for everything from the musical entertainment to menu based on the food they grew themselves as well as some locally sourced items. The menu included kale pesto pasta, salad with roasted beets and radishes, burgers, spinach dip with homemade crackers, and carrot muffins. Wow. The event was a great success, and students had the chance to see all the steps it takes to coordinate a community event. 

Many students become visibly more empowered as they learn new skills that they can use throughout their lives. 

In the Central Point School District, Karen works with students at Sams Valley Elementary School. The garden committee there wanted to focus on producing more garden fresh produce for the cafeteria salad bar. Karen’s role has been to help them by engaging the 3rd-5th graders to grow the vegetables. The students have learned everything from planting seeds to harvesting produce and creating recipes with their garden abundance. They recently made simple lettuce wraps with carrots, radishes, cilantro, and peas that the students loved, exclaiming that it was the best food they had ever had! One third grade girl told Karen that her family bought kale starts and melon seeds to start their garden since “I know how to plant because you taught us.” Pride that comes from gardening was a recurring theme no matter what the story was that Karen shared with me. 

Creating your own food just can’t be beat for a sense of accomplishment!

To volunteer go to and look at their calendar. You could help with their Harvest Meals programs.These occur on farms where students get to visit a farm and explore farm activities. This always includes harvesting and cooking food as well as information on compost, insects, plant parts and more. The day ends with a meal everyone helped to prepare, yum! You can also call their Outreach Coordinator, Lilia Letsch at  541-579-3656. 

Their mission statement: Rogue Valley Farm to School educates children about our food system through hands-on farm and garden programs, and by increasing local foods in school meals. We inspire an appreciation of local agriculture that improves the economy and environment of our community and the health of its members.

Rogue World Music

RWMLogoThis is from our Sneak Preview column called the 501c3 Files

By Adam Bogle

Summer, summer, milk of the calves, We brought the summer with us. Yellow summer of the clear bright daisies, We brought the summer with us! This is just one of the lines from the song Thugamar Fein An Samhradh Linn (This is Gaelic, not typos.) that Rogue World Ensemble will be singing May 21st and 22nd right here in the Rogue Valley. Of course it will be sung entirely in Irish Gaelic because that is just how they roll. This concert alone has over seven different cultures represented from Turkish to Swedish to Haitian French. And now Rogue World Music has created a children’s group called the Rogue World Choristers. A natural extension to reach even more of this community!

Singing with The Rogue World Choristers is a beautiful way for children to learn about the world’s folk music traditions while developing their musical skills in a fun and supportive atmosphere. Shaun Garner, the Artistic Director says: “These children come to us, often with no prior training and yet, by the time twelve weeks of rehearsal has ended they are a true choir singing together and understanding the cultures each song represents. It’s incredible to watch.” The children have a lot of fun with the lyrics. One of the lines the kids like from a song from Ghana this term is: “Tu-eh, tu-eh, barima tu-eh tu-eh; Rice cakes for sale! Come buy my rice cakes!” The Choristers have two sessions per year, one in fall the other in spring and there are scholarships available. Singing in a choir is known to improve both cooperation and leadership skills and even lowers stress levels and improves concentration.

The Rogue World Ensemble was founded in 2009 by Megan Danforth with the goal of bringing music back to its community roots. According to the choir members, this choir has a really different feeling from other choirs. It is very inclusive and approachable. Here are some quotes from choir members: “I have been in other choirs where I hardly even spoke to the others in my section. This feels more like hanging out with friends.” “I get goosebumps singing the Eastern European songs that connect me to my heritage.”, “Joining this group helped me find my voice again after twenty years without singing.” Many of the singers talked about feeling connected and grounded being a part of this group. Two members drive to rehearsal once a week from Grants Pass and one from Williams. That’s dedication!

This is the music of the people, by the people and for the people. It is full of simple and beautiful sentiments like “I am sister to the roses, I am sister to the foam, to the egrets, to the roses and the sun…” and “O Pirin Mountain, how beautiful you are…” Some of the harmonies and scales are hauntingly different than what you hear on the radio. They help bring the far away countries a bit closer and that brings us all closer. In this time of great immigration issues it is important for all of us to remember and celebrate the cultures from which we came.

To help foster the authenticity of the songs they sing from different cultures, RWM brings in experts to help with pronunciation and style. Part of the choir experience is to attend workshops to really dig in to another culture. From Eastern European music with Kitka, Ugandan music with Samite, to Appalachian, Cape Breton and Gospel Music. Rogue World Music also helps promote other local world music in the area such as the folk dances held at Paschal Winery with Omada Kosmos and house concerts with the world class music of Kevin Carr and Pat O’Scannell.

The next Rogue World Ensemble concert is called Travelin’ Light and will be held at the Unitarian Fellowship 7PM on Saturday May 21st and again at the Bigham Knoll Ballroom in Jacksonville at 4PM on Sunday May 22nd. For more information visit Celebrating community, diversity and the human spirit through world folk music.

Boys To Men Southern Oregon

TEN Realty Group’s charity of the month for April of 2016 is the youth mentoring group Boys to Men. The following is an article I wrote for about their organization for our monthly Sneak Preview article called The 501C3 Files

You may be wondering why I am dedicating this article to one of the top RnB groups of the 90s. Well, their popularity according to Wikipedia

compares them to the Beatles and Elvis. But more importantly, I just find it hard not to think about one without the other. The two have absolutely no connection, but for the fun of it I am going to use some Boyz II Men song titles to help talk about the real subject of this article which is the mentoring group: Boys to Men Southern Oregon (BTMSO).

In a recent conversation I had with Pete Young, one of the founding

mentors of BTMSO, he told me that he regularly gets emails from single

mothers who are struggling with their boys and are desperate for some

help. BTMSO also receives requests to support young men coming out of the juvenile justice system through a partnership with Resolve, a restorative justice organization in Medford which offers Youth/Elder Circles.

According to BTMSO statistics, roughly 75% of the teens in this program come from a single mother household, with limited to no contact with the fathers. Fortunately this isn’t the “End of The Road” for these boys. In fact it is just the beginning, and knowing about this program is certainly “A Song For Mama”.

Pete told me about one young man he has known for years. On one of their

first interactions, the boy told him that while he had a father at home, that the situation was highly toxic and emotionally abusive. He was uncertain whether it was better to go home to this awful environment, or to accept life as one of the homeless youths in our area.

BTMSO mentors are trained not to simply tell the boys what to do, but to actively listen to connect, invite them to self-reflect, to learn from their mistakes and consider the impact of their actions. They help them to reframe their stories so they can get a better sense of their inner value as young men.

As Pete says, they have plenty of people telling them what to do. Parents, teachers, authorities. This teenager chose homelessness over the emotionally abusive home. And over the coming years, when Pete saw him on the street, he would take some time to reconnect and talk. Recently Pete was contacted by this same young man who told him that he had found a job, had an apartment and was doing well. He said that having someone who he knew cared and made a real connection with all of those years was one of the things that got him through.

In addition to these  Youth/Elder Circles, BTMSO offers several regular programs annually. Inner Mentor Training is for men who want to become mentors. Before the “Water Runs Dry”, there is great need for more good men to step forward to mentor these boys and young men. This is the program for them. 

The program for boys from 9 – 13 is the Raven Weekend.

Some bring their fathers and others are matched up with qualified mentors.  The next one will be in June, and costs $350. But if “Whatcha Need” is a little help, don’t worry.  BTMSO has never turned away anyone who wants to participate based on not having the funds.

The program for 13 – 18 year olds is the Rite of Passage Adventure (ROPA).  “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday”, but that is what this program is for. Helping young men understand the transition from being a boy to being a young man.

They also provide a Rite of Passage Celebration Weekend for the 17-18 year old graduates of the ROPA weekend. After this they are invited to continue with the BTMSO community now as men to mentor incoming youth. It is a great way for them to say “Thank You”.

According to Pete, the biggest challenge Boys to Men faces is having enough good men in the program. According to their website, They are not looking for a few perfect men. They are looking for men willing to admit they are not perfect, and willing to share the truth about the struggles all men face.

If you’d like to know more about the Youth/Elder Circles which are available to any youth year round, and for further information on all offerings, visit their website at You can register for events or donate money towards the scholarships they provide to families in need of a bit of help.