Brett Korteling

Brett Korteling, 49, Water Resources Planner, Cornwall

How did you know about ABoB?

My 14 year old son Henry had a ‘Remembering Our Roots’ weekend for young men through his school in Penzance. I went along to an introduction for parents and ABoBabob leaders, James Oaken and James Benzing were there. I had read about ABoBabob on the website and I’d been meaning to do something like this since I was 20. I really liked the ethos of ABoBabob and how James and James were with the young men. I told them I wanted to go on a weekend and it all worked out from therem.

What happened next?

I went to the ABoBabob website and saw ABoBabob’s success rate with young ex-offenders. I was attracted to the rites of passage element so I signed up. I also was feeling disorientated and burnt out so it came at a good time for me personally as I was having marriage troubles with my wife. Over time ABoB abob has helped me rebuild myself and take a new perspective on my life. I could not have done this without being part of ABoBabob.

How was the ‘Beyond The Hero’ weekend?

Life-changing. It helped me re-set my inner world. It was a very powerful experience in that I was able to share deeper aspects of my story than I’d ever done before. It was also significant hearing other men’s stories and vulnerabilities. I felt very supported by the other men too. T, that was very important for me as I hadn’t experienced that depth of holding from men. It was a huge relief to know all parts of me and my experience was welcome including those actions I was ashamed of. This feeling was so very relaxing.

How was it being with these other men and just men?

Heart warming. Before I’d always found deep connections and understanding with women but now it was happening with men. I find that aspect of ABoB very comforting. I also broke through layers of trapped feelings which was hard, but a relief and very necessary for me to recreate the life I have always wanted but didn’t go out and get.

What did you take away from the weekend?

The incredible feeling that I was in fact ‘good enough’. But also that ‘I could do more’. With my life. With my explorations. That was a rare feeling to feel both at the same time and feel both relaxed and super charged for what was next.

What about the weekly meetings?

They’re really wonderful. I found the weekend profound [sl]and helpful, but in order to really believe it all and nurture these new feelings of openness, that requires work and time. After the weekend, I re-connected with passion, energy and joie de vivre. These meetings keep me going and in touch with myself and continue to take positive action. Breaking through my old habits does take a bit of work and encouragement! ABoB provides mountains of support and encouragement!

Have you staffed any weekends?

Yes, a ‘Quest for Community’ where I was able to support other men and a ‘Beyond The Hero’. Both were brilliant and powerful. I am very happy that I can contribute to other men regaining their purpose and energy.

I also completed a Facilitation training weekend where I learnt even more. I was able to go deeper with certain aspects that been opened up during the initial weekend. It was also beautiful, the way we were able to hold space and learn how to navigate through adverse situations then come out with a new perspective.

Tell me about ABoB Cornwall?

There are 31 are over 50 of us. We’ve just had our second We are now planning for our 3rd Quest for Community. and now is the period when the young men being mentored

Haven’t you just been awarded a grant?

Yes, £4,000 from the Pathfinder programme which has been set up by the Devon and Cornwall Police, it’s to support young men on the fringes of the Criminal Justice System and so just right for our young men.

How do you see the future for you and ABoB?

I want to mentor a young man, continue to volunteer at weekends and then at some point do the leadership training. It is all such a blessing.