Wilderness Weekly 1.21.22

Photo Credit: Rosalie - outBACK Clinical Support Specialist


The Goanna’s week was full of exciting events. It started with one student finishing up an A-frame backpack for one of the students in order to have more comfortable hikes. The Goannas had a strong logistical week taking initiative and working together while completing a ghost challenge. The students took on the challenge of leading camp clean up, breakfast, packing and chores. This was a show of great growth, responsibility, and self-agency. The Goannas worked diligently on hike days and it paid off with extra time to enjoy the views and play games. One in particular was a game called ‘D.O.G.S.’ which is a hacky sack game: once you connect three hacks the game almost turns into dodgeball. Sunday being the last hike day, the Goanna’s set up for therapy to welcome new members. This has its challenges but our senior Goanna’s stepped up to mentor and show new students the ropes in cooking, explaining daily routines, and culture. 

Steady Snowfall earned the Goanna’s token embodying the 5 pillars of the group, C.A.R.E.S. (Caring, Accountability, Respect, Empathy, Support). Tuesday night a large group of Goanna’s welcomed a growing family out in the West Desert, ending this week with a beautiful gathering around a fire.


The Pindari had a B-E-A-U-tiful week. They started off with lots of conversation and intention surrounding positivity and gratitude. They honored their journey at sunset each night and created moments of appreciation and gratitude throughout the day. We got to hear one student’s life story and hear another’s placement letter. The attitude and motto of the week was “get it done”. All the Pindari dedicated themselves to working and playing hard. They learned two new games with fun initiatives where they created and shared stories. During the week, clay representations of their journey were assembled and they had an ocre (paint made from natural ceremonies) where they created a vision for their life–burning it as an offering to the universe.

Recurrent themes for the week were the importance of perspective, family and priorities such as school. One student made a bull roar. They even made time to create crafts and jewelry for themselves and others. Unbroken Bear got his trail name and another got the Openness token. The students were proud to share their accomplishments to work as a team and beat time challenges on camp set up and breakdown. The group shined brightly this week and felt proud to share their achievements with incoming staff. Goals for the next week were set: structure and positivity were things that motivate them. 


This week was a fantastic winter week full of games, good books, and adventures on the beautiful plains between Red Pine and Indian Peak Mountains. Throughout the week, the group enjoyed playing a number of games including hacky sack, Dogs, and Two Ball, as well as a version of the basketball game, Horse–the students hung a tire in a tree as the hoop, and a hacky sack was used as the ball. The books we read this week included the first eight chapters of The Anatomy of Peace and the latter half of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The students enjoyed learning about collusion cycles and discussing the character Lou Herbert and his struggles in the Anatomy of Peace.

One of the Uluru busted a coal for the first time and the group celebrated in the warmth that little spark provided. Another student diligently worked on their first camp assignments, successfully finishing all the needed pieces to graduate and move into a more leadership role in the group. In addition, the Uluru were surprised by a visit from a group of staff in training. They enjoyed a game with them as well as helped them assemble their fire busting sets. The group ended the week reuniting with their old comrades from Peak and  look forward to the coming week ahead.

This week on peak, the students went on a journey through Southern Utah. They came from different groups and from very different walks of life. The group discussed the challenges of living in the desert to going back to a city with many other people– they talked about temptations and how that will apply to when they leave outBACK. The group learned how to climb and got excited to talk with other folks that were at the climbing area. They enjoyed the freedom of talking to folks who have no preconceived notions of them. They learned how to work to get all the gear to the climbing area and belayed each other so everyone could get a chance to climb the beautiful Navajo sandstone. An opportunity to go rappelling came up–they learned how to trust themselves, the staff, and equipment to safely reach the ground. They encouraged each other and enjoyed watching other students overcome the fear of leaning over the edge.

We all went to Snow Canyon State Park to explore the ancient sand dunes. The students supported each other through some of the harsh realities of society when they encountered some less than friendly park goers. They were proud of themselves for handling the situation by meeting their negativity with a heart at peace. Throughout the week, several students held gatherings about topics that were important to them such as fear, future goals and plans. They took astounding initiative and showed that they were truly committed to their growth at outBACK, Peak, and in life. The week came to a close in the lava tubes of Central Utah where they discussed their skills so they could enter their groups ready to lead and unify for the common goal of continuing their therapeutic journeys.

Read Past "Wilderness Weekly" Posts

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