Continuing the story of what brought me to where I am today.
The Quest Project is Born
That may sound “cliché” so let me explain. I carried, labored, nurtured, fed, protected and devoted most of my time to this baby called The Quest Project! I knew in my heart it would be a gift to troubled young boys. It is what they need. I have loved and developed it for over 20 years.
Looking back it was a challenge getting started. I first developed a weekend program and it was close to what I knew boys needed but didn’t quite meet my expectations. The military teaches you “if you’re doing something, do it perfectly, lives are on the line.” I gave away the weekend version of the program in 1996; it is very well known today. I continued to research, develop and survey each group until I knew exactly the right processes that would help these adolescent boys get what they needed to get better, to become healthy young men.
In late 1997 I facilitated the first group of boys in my office. It was amazing. We met once a week for 5 weeks; each week a different topic and process and they responded. I would see the parents in group settings as well throughout the 5 weeks, typically two times, and they responded! These parents told other parents and before long I was running three and sometimes four age appropriate groups a week.
Soon it became apparent that I not only needed to, but could expand. Five weeks wasn’t enough time. The feedback from groups was overwhelming and it allowed me to turn the 5-week program into a 10-week program to fulfill what the boys needed, with parents meeting four times.
I see boys who struggle with socialization, boys who are bullied, boys using drugs, addicted to gaming, in legal trouble and everything in between. Over the years I have adjusted and changed as needed but one common denominator remains the same…the problem is systemic, dad is absent (emotionally or physically) and IF dad is present, he wants help. Single parent moms feel helpless because their little boy is changing and lashing out and she has no idea what to do or where to turn.
To date over 2,000 boys have not only gone through the program, they have graduated and transitioned into healthy young men!
Life is Good
My father died in 1999 and although much of the chaos died with him, I continue to thank him for the gift he gave me that allows me to do the work I do. Mom remained happily remarried for more than 35 years. I became an uncle to two great children who I’m very proud of and overall life is good.
I have remained in private practice for over 20 years in St. Louis. I continue to provide individual and couples counseling. I have a men’s group and women’s group that meet weekly in addition to The Quest Project.
As I wrap up this series, I will share with you some very exciting news about what’s happening today. In the next year, you will see my mission to share this work with as many people as possible will become a reality!
I invite you to comment if you have or know of someone who felt lost when their son reached adolescence?