The Goannas had some full days filled with hiking, plenty of games, story telling, and tons of fun! The group started the week off by playing tons of dogs, school bus, Among Us, and a new word game they invented where they have to guess a word based on the explanation, and then come up with another word that sounds similar and continue the guessing. The group sat down together and all made slingshots, where we then had a distance throwing competition with rocks. The group then kicked off the hiking portion of the week by moving to an amazing site surrounded by beautiful Juniper trees. The next day we continued our hiking to a site on top of a hill with an amazing view. The next day we had a 3 mile hike, and the group pushed through it and supported each other throughout the entire day, with positive attitudes all day.
The group pushed through a winter storm the same night, coming together to start a fire for dinner. The entire group showed great love and support for each other and grew so much closer during these tests! The group ended the week off honoring the best qualities of each other, with Admirable Mustang receiving the Strong Cord token, Intentional Supernova receiving the Strong Cord token, and the three newest members of the group receiving the Brightness token, the Winged Heart token, and the Journey Keeper token. We ended off the week with multiple games of Among Us at the fire where we had to figure out who the Imposter in the group was. The last night of the week the group received a new student, who was already fitting in right away. The group did an introduction circle to welcome their newest member, and then finished the night off with storytelling in shelter, which was filled with plenty of laughter. Here’s to another fantastic fun filled week in the Goannas.
The Pindari began this week with a gathering centered around one of the teachings illustrated in the Anatomy of Peace, sharing stories and anecdotes from their lives wherein they at one time or another viewed someone as an object or obstacle. We were able to realize ways in which we have all fallen into this pattern and discuss how to change our perspective in order to see the human in everyone. Imaginative crafts were a focus of the group this week. They made playing cards, toy swords, a chess set, a spoon fit for a giant, and decorative knots and threads for their bags and clothes. The group reset themselves with a hike along a beautiful ridgeline, moving from sub-alpine to high desert climates within the course of the hike, to set up camp in a new site amongst the junipers and sage. Several group members endeavored to develop their leather crafting skills sewing possibilities bags, kites, and shoes.
The group welcomed two new members with a special ceremony at the top of a hill near our site. They taught the new Pindari what it means to be a Pindari, which can be summed up in their core pillars: Family, Autonomy, Respect, Tenacity, Integrity, New/old culture, and Gratitude. Another member of the group received the trail name Wise King Crab in a sunset ceremony at the end of the week, as well as the Awakening token. The dedicated spaces harbored a feeling of camaraderie, empathy, and support. The group stepped up to every challenge they faced and came together to overcome physical and metaphorical mountains.
Here in the west desert, spring is blooming. The cycle of life begins anew. The desert is now blooming with wildflowers of every color, the howls of newborn coyotes can be heard in the distance, and the snow of this past winter is finally making a disappearance thus opening a new chapter of warmth for the next phase of new outBACK students to arrive in the desert. The Uluru stands witness to this cycle as we stood in awe of the wonder of change.
We began the week welcoming a new intake into the field who joined us on 3 pack hikes through the desert terrain and 1 day hike up Erickson Knoll where we discovered a time capsule left by outBACKers past. We read notes that they left behind and learned of their wisdom from past experiences, some of the Uluru and staff even left notes of their own for future outBACKers to see. On our last hike we were welcomed by a trail speckled with yellow and purple wildflowers blooming under the setting sun. Our final site possessed a steep and medium sized mountain top where we held 3 ceremonies. A naming ceremony for an Uluru where the group donned on the title of Dapper Moose. He was quite proud of his trail name. Iron Coyote received his second Giver token to emphasize the group’s recognition for his nature of relentless giving of self and effort (he also reached his goal of busting 300 coals, the highest amount ever recorded in the group). Mindful Raven received the Brightness token, as they have made major steps in growth that truly shone brightly. Another Uluru received the Strong Cord token to represent the spirit they possess in holding group unity and support and our newest intake received the openness token as the staff could see he was on the journey welcoming new beginnings.
All-in-all, this was a week where the Uluru came, saw, and conquered in blazing glory, as to be expected of such a strong group of individuals.
This week began with a group intro ceremony where students shared with staff and each other what had brought them to outBACK and what it was they wanted to get out of their peak week.The following morning the group headed to southern Utah to enjoy warmer weather and less primitive camping. The group enjoyed a hot meal and afterward shared what specific daily goals they had for the week
The following day students climbed Cougar cliffs where every student made multiple attempts to complete routes. They all demonstrated patience and perseverance. That evening the group came together to debrief– climbing during gathering and related their experience on the wall with struggles they want to overcome in their own lives.
The next day students packed up and went hiking in a canyon in Red Cliffs state park. They helped each other navigate through a difficult section of trail that followed wet, slick rock upward into the canyon. Later the students reflected on how they were in a better position to appreciate experiences like the canyon hike than they were before arriving at outBACK.
The group hiked again the next day into a canyon near Zion national park and played hacky sack and other games after making it up the canyon. The group returned to site that evening and explored the mountainside near camp before gathering to discuss what they wanted life to be like after outBACK. The next morning the group went climbing again and each student was able to complete a route even more difficult than the last.
The week ended with a ceremony inside lava tubes where the group was honored for having come this far on their outBACK journey. The group took time to acknowledge the growth that they saw in each other over the week before heading back into the field to return to their groups.