Rite of Passage - Tour de Youth

Press Kit


What is Tour DE Youth?


Key People


Media Usage

Approved Images and Media
Style Guide
Social Media Handles
Key Publications
Approved Quotes



Improving the Lives of Youth has been Rite of Passage’s mission and driving force for 40 years.



What is the Tour De Youth?


The Tour de Youth (TDY) is a cross country bike ride led by Greg Townsend, the inspiration behind the recently released Hard Miles movie. The ride will be launched in the summer, to bring unique learning opportunities and normalized experiences to kids through the outdoors. This ride will also bring awareness to the youth care workers across the country, like those at Rite of Passage, who have dedicated their careers to providing youth with positive development opportunities that focuses on achieving goals, demonstrating strength and resilience, and having fun. The Tour de Youth aims to guide students on a transformative journey of mental and physical development through this 3000 plus mile bike ride from California to Washington D.C., while showing them the historic and scenic sights of the United States along the way. Selected kids, staff, and alumni from Rite of Passage programs across the country will join Greg on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in this cross-country bike ride to celebrate the Hard Miles movie and Rite of Passage’s 40 year anniversary.



Students on the cross-country cycling team will take part in all educational and treatment program components. Individualized treatment will take place for each student through active counseling and positive skill development sessions and groups. Opportunities like normalized education surrounding core subject areas will take place along with hands-on vocational learning. Experiential education through visitation to various educationally rich areas of the country on the tour will also be prioritized.



Media events will be scheduled in each big stopping location of the tour, where local community members, bicycling organizations, and area partners will be invited to participate in community engagement opportunities with the TDY team and get to learn more about Rite of Passage programs.


Find the map for each stop here: Tour de Youth Map


“On this journey, I hope to find my true self. I hope to discover things about myself that I have locked away. I look at this trip as a way to help me become a successful individual. If I succeeded on this trip, then there is nothing in life that I won’t be able to accomplish. I hope today starting that by the time I reach the finish I can see the growth I have made.” -Previous Student

Rite of Passage Background





Rite of Passage is a 40-year-old organization established with the original mission to help troubled kids through experiential learning. Today, we are dedicated to growing and adapting to serve youth in the best way possible. We utilize emerging data-driven research and best practices to provide a comprehensive continuum of evidence-based, trauma-responsive, individualized care for vulnerable and underserved youth. Rite of Passage currently has programs spanning 18 states with diverse service lines including specialized residential programs, community-based programs, behavioral health clinics, and educational services.




In 1984, Rite of Passage was founded by a psychiatric technician named Dave Maguire, who observed that youth placed at Napa State Hospital weren’t responding well to the conventional institutional paradigm. He believed that a normalized, strengths-based approach would offer them a greater chance of healing and success. Dave Maguire’s foundational principles of positive relationship-building and experiential learning guided the development of Rite of Passage’s initial program, a small group home in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In emphasizing the importance of prosocial interactions, skill development, and personal achievement, the first Rite of Passage programs helped youth reclaim agency, own their healing process, build critical resiliency skills, and establish core strengths. To this day, we are still using these practices to continue our work to improve the lives of youth.



Ridge View Academy Background


Ridge View Academy (RVA) opened in 2001 as an academy model program to provide normalized high school experiences to youth. Within this setting, youth received therapeutic services, accredited education, vocational learning opportunities, and the chance to participate in diverse extracurricular activities. RVA served over 7,000 boys—with 2,000 youth receiving their high school diploma or GED—over the course of its 20 years of operation. The program closed in 2021 at the completion of the contract in alignment with the State’s efforts to reduce the number of out-of-home placements for youth. Although Ridge View remains closed, ROP continues to work with youth in Colorado, providing specialized care while fulfilling its’ mission of improving the lives of youth.

Throwing it back to 20 years ago, hear from the students that experienced a Rite of Passage program, and how it changed their lives for the better.

Key People



Since 1984, Greg has worked with ROP to help kids discover their potential and feel a drive for success. During his time at ROP, Greg has been an integral part of the success of countless students, acting as a steadfast mentor to many youth, and always dedicated to our mission to improve lives. In his nearly 40 years of working at Rite of Passage, Greg started and nurtured our cycling program from the beginning to what it is today. Focusing on valuable skills that cycling can teach youth, Greg encouraged hundreds of students to push themselves and learn more about themselves with each mile they rode. Greg’s hard work and dedication to the cycling program inspired the Hard Miles movie, where you can see his dedication and passion for our youth, played by Matthew Modine.

Zachery Smith


Zachery Smith joins Rite of Passage as a Coach Counselor with an eagerness to make a difference. He recognizes our youths’ immense potential to positively impact society and believes that it’s those who have faced adversity that possess the empathy needed to enact meaningful change. Zachery is most enthusiastic about the opportunity to influence, inspire, and support the young participants through the trials of the ride. 



Rite of Passage long-time CEO, Ski James Broman, has evolved Rite of Passage into a nationally-acclaimed organization providing a wide spectrum of treatment options, including trauma-responsive care, family preservation initiatives, specialized residential programs, and non-residential mentoring that works with 2,000 youth daily. By emphasizing our strategic role as a learning, growing, dynamically-evolving institution, Mr. Broman ensures Rite of Passage remains firmly committed to developing and implementing effective, mindful, compassionate programs that improve lives and prepare our youth for success. Holding dual Master’s in both Family & Children’s Counseling and Business Administration, he solidifies ROP partnerships with researchers, universities, and private enterprise. He is a proven youth advocate, experienced licensed counselor, and has served on the Annie E. Casey Juvenile Justice Strategy Group taskforce that devised principles to transform care for young people in juvenile justice.

Their Quotes


  • “The atmosphere, the environment, the experiential education that they get out of it, and the physiological part of riding a bike kind of does a lot of really amazing things if you want it to.”
  • “Many of us benefit from exercise. But cycling in particular activates more of the physiological parameters that can help individuals who struggle with behavioral and emotional issues.”


  • “During the first bike ride we took back in 1984 from Placerville, California to Canada, I witnessed first-hand the transformative and healing power cycling could have for the kids we work with. From that moment on, cycling became a large part of our programming. Today, Rite of Passage is a 40-year old company, and cycling is still transforming the lives of the youth in our programs. This year, the Rite of Passage inspired film Hard Miles was released, which highlights the very real impact that positive experiences and caring mentors can have on our kids. Their struggles, the hills they have climbed—figuratively and literally—and their journey to healing and empowerment through cycling. The Tour de Youth, for us, is an opportunity to further our mission of improving lives, while also bringing the power and impact behind the movie to communities and kids at every stop along the way.”

Student Athlete Robinson, Ridge View Academy, Coast-to-Coast 2001

  • “On this journey, I hope to find my true self. I hope to discover things about myself that I have locked away. I look at this trip as a way to help me become a successful individual. If I succeeded on this trip, then there is nothing in life that I won’t be able to accomplish. I hope today starting that by the time I reach the finish I can see the growth I have made.”

Hard Miles Movie Overview

Hard Miles—the feature film from Pensé Productions — tells the uplifting true story of the cycling team at Rite of Passage’s Ridge View Academy, a residential treatment program in Colorado. The film follows beleaguered coach Greg Townsend (Matthew Modine) as he rounds up an unlikely crew of students for a seemingly impossible bike ride from Denver to the Grand Canyon. As the beginner bicyclists battle heatstroke and speed wobbles, they must learn to stop fighting and ride together as a peloton. The bicycle serves not just as a means of transportation, but as a test; a way for each of these young men to see what they are truly capable of, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Caring social worker Haddie (Cynthia Kaye McWilliams) attempts to be the voice of reason as coach Greg Townsend pushes the boys to their limit, and cracks begin to form in the peloton. Ultimately, Greg’s words will ring hollow unless he can apply his coaching advice to his own life and make amends with his dying father. In the sweltering desert, the boys reach a crossroads and must decide whether to continue down the path of least resistance, or take agency of their futures and pave the way to better future.

Style Guide (how to reference components of TDY, ROP, RVA and Kids, etc.)

How to reference students in Rite of Passage programs?

  •  Do not call kids juvenile delinquents, offenders, etc. Kids should be referred to as kids, youth, or students in Rite of Passage programs.

How to reference Rite of Passage programs?

  • Rite of Passage programs should be referenced by the program name and should be described in a way that is consistent with the language on the program’s website. 

How to reference Staff at Rite of Passage

  • Coach Counselors, Youth care workers, youth advocates, or Rite of Passage staff members.

How do you format the name of the program the film features?

  • Ridge View Academy (space between Ridge and View

How to write “Rite of Passage”

  • Rite of Passage or ROP 
  • It is NOT: Right of Passage, Rites of Passage, or any other plural version

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was Ridge View Academy Closed?

  • After 20 years of serving Colorado’s youth at Ridge View Academy, the program closed in 2021 at the completion of our contract with the Division of Youth Services. The closure was aligned with the State’s efforts to reduce the number of out-of-home placements for youth. Although Ridge View remains closed, we continue to work with youth in smaller programs across the state, while continuing our traditions of cycling and positive youth development opportunities.


What are the benefits of cycling?

  • Now more than ever, as childhood has essentially moved indoors, leaving kids disconnected from the natural world, outdoor activities, such as cycling, not only hold physical health benefits, but the emotional benefits of connecting to the nature that surrounds them. Cycling, and other forms of outdoor recreational support helps our youth engage all five senses. When all five senses are engaged, the brain has increased capacity to learn, see more options, and think more clearly, which leads to overall higher functioning. In a sense, it is bringing homeostasis back in balance in the body which leads to better whole health wellness.


Why “rite of passage”?

  • The organization was named Rite of Passage because we are providing normalized high school experiences to kids AKA Rites of Passage. Anthropologist Arnold Van Gennep first wrote about the worldwide commonality of rites of passage in his 1908 book, The Rites of Passage. In it he described three stages of a rite of passage—separation, leaving the familiar; transition, a time of testing, learning and growth; and return, incorporation of lessons, reintegration. This is a similar path many of the kids in ROP programs follow. Most of these rites have been lost in modern society, yet humans still seem to be naturally drawn to alternative rites, like adolescents who are drawn to substance abuse, gang activity, and other reckless behaviors. What’s missing for many youth are the mentors who have navigated this transition and can guide them safely on their journey. This is where Rite of Passage programs have come in.


Can you tell me more about the kids going on the whole trip?

  • Our kids’ identities can be sensitive so anonymity is prioritized in any scenario. As we build our team for this ride, we will share fun tidbits of information on social media while ensuring we prioritize the safety and well-being of our students.



For media inquiries: tourdeyouth@rop.com 


Social Media

FacebookRite of Passage 

Instagram: @riteofpassage.1984

LinkedInRite of Passage

YouTube: @riteofpassage.1984

Tik Tok: @riteofpassage.1984


Facebook: Tour de Youth

Instagram: @thetourdeyouth

Ask us Your Own Questions!