Where we came from: In 1998, family therapist Philip Loydpierson was asked to create a rite-of-passage experience into manhood for his own godson, Joshua. The nearly two-year study and preparation for this event stoked a fire originally started by ancestors centuries before, and it was soon apparent that such an experience would clearly benefit all young men living in a culture that has forgotten a crucial aspect of growing into a man. It wasn't until 2002 when the first public outing took place. Since those first offerings, JP expanded into four seasonal weekends for men and young men, always emphasizing the coming-of-age of the next generation.
In 2015, Philip decided, in concert with his advisory council, to restructure the Joshua Project, reforming it as a non-profit entity. We are a group of men from different backgrounds, with differing life experiences and outlooks, who share in the vision and commitment to providing young men the opportunity to be seen, heard, challenged, and accepted by their elders as they journey from boyhood into manhood in our culture. We serve the greater southeast, with most of our community coming from Charlotte, Boone, and Triangle regions of North Carolina, but welcome brothers from everywhere.
The Joshua Project is a NC non-profit corporation, operating as a 501 (c)(3) organization under Internal Revenue Code.
Philip Loydpierson, MSW, Founder of The Joshua Project
Philip Loydpierson is happily married to Sandy Loydpierson and, with her, the proud parent of twins, Isaac and Amelia, who are now living amazing lives out in the big world. He is also godfather to two beautiful adult men: Luke McCollum, a JP alumni, and Joshua Dulken, for whom the program was originally created and named over 20 years ago. Philip works as a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice and has been counseling folks in and around Charlotte for over 35 years.
Rob Plaugher, Executive Director
I met The Joshua Project in 2011. I started adult life as a secondary school teacher with a family of choice; my journey led me from teaching to entrepreneurship to my current healing work as a massage therapist, My wife and I have lived in the NC mountains for 25+ years. I enjoy being outdoors, unplugged, and tuned in to the wisdom of this beautiful planet. The honor and responsibility to "do better" for the young people our world is raising, as well as the amazing promise of those young people, keeps me connected to purpose. I have had the honor of bringing 5 young men into this circle, and holding it for a hundred others.
Derrick J. Hines does not remember his home planet but has enjoyed his time on this one. His experiences in human form have landed him in many bands, dance groups, a few plays, one commercial, and as an extra on two films and one television show. He is currently the father of a teenage son greatly benefiting from the Joshua Project. Derrick has been an active member since he and his son participated in their first King weekend almost four years ago. The Hines’ believe the Joshua Project is a much needed organization and will continue to do all they can to keep it going. ️
I lived all over the Midwest and Northeast before moving to Charlotte thirty years ago to begin teaching history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. About ten years ago I was drawn to seek out men who were open to feelings and searching for greater meaning in this world and began attending Joshua Project weekends. I became more committed to service as I saw the impact Joshua Project had on the young men who passed through and eventually had the pleasure of sharing the experience with my adult son. Today the peace of the woods and the community of old and young men that forms around the fire continue to call to me.
Rio lives in the mountains of western NC with his partner Stephanie and their two dogs. He has the blessing of being "like a" father to two beautiful daughters and one son. The outdoors have always called him back to a sense of inner serenity and oneness, whether it's playing in rivers or the ocean, hiking trails or rock climbing. Rio is currently certified as a Wilderness First Responder and was gifted the role of cooking for the Joshua Project many years ago. His heart is filled to overflowing every time he gets to experience the re-connection of fathers/uncles/elders and their sons. "Joshua Project is one of the most powerful experiences I've ever witnessed for young men...and for older men as well."
I was born and raised in Southern California by two Unitarian public-school teachers. They encouraged me to integrate and value integrity, social consciousness, environmental awareness , racial/gender orientation/status inclusivity, and the importance of education in its varied forms. My early adult life was spent wandering North America in a self-modified 1940 Ford gypsy truck. I have a deep interest in men’s group work, ethno-botany, origami, metal sculpture, fire keeping, storytelling, and creating private and public art. I am enjoying a fifteen-year marriage to Justine who shares her teaching skills and mentors me in my current and third career as a high school auto shop teacher/mentor. So far, my greatest calling and joy has been fathering a bright young man named Jaden. My commitment to fully fathering him led me to The Joshua Project. One JP retreat inspired me to become involved in this work, and I have found a home tribe with the other equally inspired men in this organization. Peace
Eric has been a very active member of the Joshua Project since his oldest son started attending 4 years ago, and board member for 2 of those years. Eric likes to think that his first time attending a JP event one and half years earlier actually jump-started his own journey of self discovery and growth, and is proud to be part of this fantastic group of men doing such amazing work. Eric works in technology for a financial services company in Charlotte, teaches at UNCC, and likes to spend time with his family going to movies, hiking and traveling.
Paul grew up in the Northeast and moved to the Charlotte area in 2005. He works in the Manufacturing industry as an Applications Engineer. He and his son have been involved in the Joshua Project for almost 4 years. Paul fully supports the Joshua Project's mission of providing a rite of passage experience for young men, and feels that the future of our society needs young men that have transitioned from boys to men in a healthy and supportive way.
Jeff Long grew up in Virginia and the mountains of West Virginia and has been living in Charlotte since 1985. He's worked in manufacturing and as a contractor for most of his life. In 2008, he became a stepfather and found out about Joshua Project through a trusted family therapist. He brought his young stepson to the summer 2013 vision quest and both were profoundly moved by the experience. Two years later, he was able to bring his oldest son to a gathering and they were able to heal past wounds together with the help of the circle of men. Jeff now serves as an active board member, using his warrior energy to help create a safe place for young and mature men alike to heal and grow together.
Married, one daughter in college, one son in high school, and caregiver to a second young man in high school (both young men initiated in the Joshua Project program for two years.) Raised in Puerto Rico until age 10 (fluent in Spanish). Lived in NYC during adolescence. Charlotte resident since 1977. B.A. from UNCC,J.D. from Washington College of Law at American University. Founder of a men’s group and involved in men’s work since in 1989. Participant with the Joshua Project since 2012, board member since 2016. Committed to helping men distinguish the (mature) masculine in its fullness as well as the (immature) “shadow” masculine and to help connect men with their (emotions) “heart.”