ManAlive Expedition is just that. It’s a sojourn of the soul just for men in the spirit of men.
It’s a gathering, a happening and many times a changing of the heart.
“ManAlive is based on the themes of the book ‘Wild at Heart’ by John Eldredge,” explains Darrell Amy, a founding board member. “That book really resonated with me, and in the back of the book, there was information on an event in the Rocky Mountains. [I tried for three years to go] but they were overbooked, and in 2009, I went to that place. It was very much a life-changing experience for me. And I thought, ‘I can’t be the only person. …’”
In the fall of 2009, Amy found a related event in East Texas to attend. There, he met other men with similar experiences.
“When I came home from the first trip, one of my biggest challenges was that I realized I didn’t want to do life alone, without a band of brothers — that was not a good thing,” he says.
The trip to East Texas bonded Amy with other men — real stories, real situations and real desire to grow as people.
“For almost 10 years now, we’ve gotten to know each other and we’ve been through all kinds of life situations together. Out of that, in the fall of 2011, we developed ManAlive Expedition in Arkansas based on the way John Eldredge does it in Colorado,” Amy says.
But it’s not a Biblical study. It’s not a design of checkpoints. Manalive is a wandering through the mind and possibly the heart of a man, giving each participant a place to explore who he is and in his own words and on his own terms with some guidance by men who have wandered down that path before. It’s about finding like-minded men who might just develop a lasting friend or many in the experience.
“Eight guys put on our first event together,” Amy says. “We had 50 or 60 men that first year. We wrapped our 12th event this spring and had over 90. Through the years, we’ve seen over 600 men go through ManAlive.”
The Expedition is held twice a year in Solgohachia, north of Russellville. The next event is set September 13-16.
But what happens on the mountain is still a mystery in many ways. The nonprofit doesn’t advertise and organizers don’t do media interviews. An exception was made exclusively for WINC. Magazine.
Wives will tell you their men come back changed but in ways that are hard to define. It’s about opening a dialogue in a safe space.
“The heart of men is really tricky,” Amy says. “They don’t respond to gimmicks. This isn’t a church event. They usually find out about ManAlive from their friends, and men’s wives tell other wives. It is very personal.
“I guess, ManAlive helped me understand what the story of my life did to my identity.”
Board member Bryan Henry echos, “The men who come just are who we are. Men show up from all over the country. In our society, the value of a man is just to put our heads down and keep going, but in reality, it doesn’t work that way. Having a group or a team helps them along.”
ManAlive is meant to provide something of a brotherhood, honing in on what is loving, protective and supportive without expectation.
“The goal is to create irreversible change,” Henry says. “How that plays out is that men are encouraged to be engaged in their lives. It’s about heart, not emotions. We want men to realize what God created them to be and to live it out.”
For more information on ManAlive Expedition, log onto http://manaliveexpedition.com.