Changing the World One Man at a Time: How the ManKind Project Changed Dave Amelio’s Life
May 31, 2012 10:15PM
● By Linda Sechrist
Dave Amelio and family
It only takes a few minutes of viewing the short documentary on the homepage of the Mankind Project (MKP) website for a man or woman to understand why the work of this worldwide brotherhood of 35,000 adult males is changing the world, one man at a time. The 5-minute film, which presents the question—what does it mean to be a modern, mature man—features five members of MKP, who speak briefly from their own experience about the most valued aspects of their new way of being since their involvement with New Warriors training. Sincere answers—making a difference in the community, learning to trust themselves as well as the goodness of other men, being supported by other men, and a sense of community—hint at the underlying transformation these men have undergone since their New Warrior Training Adventure. Their narratives also reflect the value of meeting regularly in local groups to express themselves, mentor one another, and share their life experiences of responsibility, accountability, personal truth, and living a life of integrity. Candid words tell of changed lives, including the lives of everyone around them,
MKP was born in a brainstorming session in the mid-1980s as three men discussed their ideas for effective mentoring. Armed with their ideas about male initiation rites, Bill Kauth, a psychotherapist and seminar leader, Ron Hering, a university professor, and Rich Tosi, a Marine veteran and former General Motors engineer, took a group of 17 men on a "Wildman Weekend" in 1985. Since then, MKP has become a national nonprofit, operating dozens of men's centers in the United States, Europe and Africa. These centers, and the men involved with them, teach tools that help men transform from a life of the head into a life of the heart. The transformational process requires a community of men, a sense of deep commitment, and a safe place to practice new skills that help men dismantle society’s emotional, physical, and cognitive barriers that keep them isolated and distanced from each other as well as their families and friends. The results of having a safe space to explore a deeper purpose and mission for their life is creating a different culture around what it means to be a man.
In 1994 Dave Amelio’s psychotherapist gave him a brochure on New Warrior weekends. “I had been reflecting on my life and realized that I lived and worked from day to day and lacked passion for life. I wanted more,” says Amelio who found all he was looking for through New Warrior training, his men’s group, which he’s been part of since 1996, and his leadership training, which he is very passionate about.
Amelio’s sense of personal integrity, level of emotional intelligence, ability to communicate and sense of accountability come through in the words he chooses to use when defining the impact that MKP involvement has had on his family, his community and his work. “I had to learn to be comfortable with my inner life and pay attention to it. Now when I have an have issue with someone and I’m sensing an emotion or a gut reaction, I express myself and let others know what’s going on in my head and heart,” explains Amelio.
A gift that Amelio regularly receives from his group—knowing that he’s not alone with how he feels or with the problems he faces. Surprised to discover that he never trusted other men until his MKP involvement, he notes that trust didn’t come easy. “I had to learn whom I could and couldn’t trust by listening to words and watching how someone’s body reacted to what they were saying,” he says.
Amelio’s wife, Sherrie, has been through training with MKP’s sister organization, Woman Within and is part of an ongoing group that meets regularly. The couple met at a Warrior Training graduation, which celebrates initiates.
“Dave and I communicate more clearly and talk to each other and others about deeper things than the weather or politics. We have a stronger marriage, which means that we can call each other on behavior that makes either of us feel uncomfortable. We do this with the understanding that we are speaking from the heart and improving ourselves for our children so they can grow into healthy human beings,” advises Sherrie.
For more information on the Mankind Project and New Warrior training weekends, visit mkp.org.