Rites of passage were historically an integral and formal part of a young person’s journey toward adulthood and thus, were a major component in the development of self-esteem. This thesis considers adolescent rites of passage as an archetypal need. The author explores how modern manifestations of these ancient rites lack mentorship and reincorporation into the community. Twenty-eight youths working as crewmembers for the Youth Corps of Southern Arizona (YCOSA) were surveyed pre and post-course to measure differences in self-esteem during an eight week wilderness program. Quantitative data revealed a statistically significant increase in self-esteem as measured by both the Coopersmith (1975) and Rosenberg (1989) self-esteem inventories, and empirical results suggests the experience was life changing, and that programs such of these may serve as modern day rites of passage for today’s youth.