The shift was, as they say, palpable. A transformation so complete you could almost reach out and touch it. One minute a boy was dragging his feet; the next saw a man with a decided skip in his step. No, not through-the-meadow skip. But the skip of the confident. The skip of someone no longer afraid to face himself -- or the world.

The skip wasn’t easy in coming. And it certainly didn’t happen overnight. But when the skip did come, it came with an unequivocal smile. And that in itself was worth the price of committing.

What confounded the fellas in the courtyard at Recovery Boot Camp was why now? Sure, the men were used to seeing lives transformed -- including their own. Yet to see a switch so suddenly flipped from sullen to skip was a surprise to even the most experienced in the program.

So they did what any helpful and inquisitive fellow will do for another -- they asked:

“Hey Casey. What gives?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know, the skip.”

“Skip? What skip? I’ve got some kinda skip?,” asked Casey.

“Yes you do, compadre. And it seems kinda sudden-like too.”

“That’s funny. I hadn’t noticed.”

“We all noticed. And we like what we’re seeing too. After all, you haven’t exactly been the skipping type.”

“Well, to tell you the truth, until now I didn’t have much reason to skip. Didn’t have the energy either. Not without the usual artificial boost.”

“So what changed?”

“Well, I’m not quite sure. But I just got off the phone with my mother, and she says she’s proud of me. Maybe that’s got something to do with this skip you say I’ve got.”

Casey’s smile returns, and the skip resumes, the former as wide as the latter is lively. Both are as evident as lightning. So’s the accompanying tune he’s whistling. They’re all also clear-cut evidence of the transformative powers of the Basic Training 12-Step immersion program put together by Recovery Boot Camp. Boys become men here every day, regardless of age; as a result, mothers again become proud of their sons. And that’s about as good of a reason to skip as it gets.

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