The Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend was cofounded by Dr. Mark Schillinger, DC and Steven Smulewitz in 2000. Mark was inspired by Brad Leslie who started a weekend mentoring program for young men in Vancouver, Canada in 1990. Mark took his son to this program and when he returned he knew he needed help raising his son as a single-parent.
He put out a call for help in the Bay Area and with the commitment and cooperation of dozens of caring mothers, fathers, and mentors the YMUW 501(c)3 Public Benefit Corporation was established.
We Were Overwhelmed at the First Ultimate Weekend
At our first Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend in Fairfax, California, over 200 young men showed up to receive their initiation. Expecting possibly a few dozen young men, that experience turned out to be an initiation for the board members and their volunteer mentors as well! Since that event, YMUW initiations have been held in Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, Sonoma, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.
At this time in 2014, YMUW has produced 45 initiation events, graduating approximately 2500 young men!
YMUW Provides Community Service
Over the years YMUW has helped other organizations who’ve been in need of our services. The following is a partial list of places where our efforts were used: Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (South Dakota), Marin Women’s Hall of Fame, California Youth Authority, Glide Memorial Church and Operation Elf.
In 2012 YMUW was one of 25 organizations selected to participate in the first International Rite of Passage Council, founded by Frederick Marx.
Our services and events have been featured throughout the media. Each article has practical information, inspiring stories or inviting images about our experiences with young men and their families.