About Us

October 30, 2005

Brooks Newton and Paula Backus called a few women to the first meeting in Ashland Oregon for what would soon become The Rose Circle. Interest in a mentoring program for young girls was popping in many quarters of the community and the greater Rogue Valley. With the success of the Boys to Men Northwest program, many men were prodding some of their women friends saying “what about a program for the girls?”

First Meeting

We established early on that developing something for the girls was only a part of bringing back a culture of community and opportunities for rites of passage for youth. Held by the interest and passion of a community of men and women, a program for girls was born. Roses adorned the center of the circle and the namesake slipped on like a comfortable garment. Each meeting was a different configuration of women with a strong core that seemed to come most often. Each meeting, initially held every month, realized another step or two in the program’s development.

“The Medium is the Message”

Very soon it became obvious to those attending the meetings that the container for the program was developing in a remarkable way. We saw how important it was to allow the details to emerge according to a natural flow and not from pushing to achieve a goal by some imagined deadline. We felt that the way we stewarded the process was at least as important as the product and in fact would be reflected in the final offering. To this end, we made it very clear to the women attending meetings that they were to come when it really fit for them to attend. We emphasized that there was no need to feel in any way obliged to attend and that we trusted in the process that was at work enough to allow it to continue without pressure.

The petals Unfold

Meetings monthly soon gave way to twice-monthly gatherings. Vision and Mission statements were developed and a Training Design Committee began to meet which included Leslie Lanes, Taylor Kohn, Brooks Newton, Ellen Craine, Renee Riley-Adams, and Lexi Delgado. The training would center around circle principles so that there would be a shared model and culture for all Mentors to follow. This model would form the context of the meetings with the girls, but the content would develop within the life of each individual circle.



It was during the early Spring that the idea came for a pilot circle to begin. It was the first meeting that Renee Riley-Adams attended and she leaped to the task of calling a circle from girls who she knew. At our next meeting, the pilot circle was initiated and blessed. It was during this period that Jennifer Pratt, a founding member of Masters of Ceremony, heard about the developing Rose Circle program. With her husband, Michael Wetter, they invited our fledgling organization to consider joining their 501 C-3 which was, at the time, home to the Boys to Men Northwest program. It took no time to see the synchronicity here and after their Board’s approval, our affiliation began. There was a heartful welcome of the women developing the girl’s program and three women self-selected to join the Masters of Ceremony Board of Directors to represent The Rose Circle – Leslie Lanes, Taylor Kohn, and Cara Walsh.

Hidden Springs Wellness Center

Three dates were set in April all held at Hidden Springs with compliments of Rod and Brooks Newton:
An informational meeting about the Container Training
The Container Training Weekend
An Open House for parents and girls wanting to join a circle

In late Spring, Heidi Jensen, a member of the Rose Circle, got the word out to as many schools as was possible about the opportunity in the Fall to join a girls circle. A radio show, newspaper articles, flyers around town and word of mouth assisted in letting people know about the opportunity for their daughters.

The Rose Circle Container Training

The weekend was a wonderful success and landed exactly nine months from the initial meeting when the seed for this program was planted in the fertile field of this community. The Rose Circle was born and began its own natural rhythm of development along the lines of its inception. Mentors were ready and just enough girls responded to the invitation to match the number of Mentors who were ready. Besides the pilot circle that is continuing, three more circles began in the Fall of 2006.

The Story Continues…