The Goanna’s resilience was showcased by persevering through a challenging week. We witnessed several moments of vulnerability, strength, and teamwork. Students held a gathering in the beginning of the week to establish new pillars, which they will use to empower a new and growth-oriented group culture. These pillars proved to be vital as new peers joined the group towards the end of the week. Leaders of the group were able to teach the new members what Goanna culture is all about by leaning on the new pillars.
Steezy Clown Fish and two other Goannas busted their first coals within just the first couple hours of our week together! This was exciting, as busting has been a challenge for many of them. A newfound obsession with finding and maintaining the best fire set was the theme of the week. Juicy juniper bottom boards were harvested for everyone in the group, even all the staff were able to get in on the wealth a massive juniper root provided.
The group set out on several different hikes during their backcountry expedition week. Most of the hiking was done cross country, which was challenging at times due to the hilly and rocky terrain. We had a surprise visit from a few desert creatures on the way which brought joy and excitement to the group. Owls majestically filled the night sky over our last camp, sparking the opportunity to share nighttime stories around the campfire.
Lastly, we cannot forget the jaw-dropping creative skills of the Goannas. Leather flip flops, coal burned bowls, keeper pouches, quivers, and many other items were crafted this week. It is amazing to watch how thrilled the Goannas get when highlighting their creations!
This week the Roos had a blast as they embarked on an awesome adventure week! The group was able to enjoy many different activities in a variety of stunning locations here in Utah. The week was filled with many laughs, moments of fun and joy, fears conquered, and group bonds strengthened!
As anticipation was building for the group’s coming adventure expedition, the students were able to refocus and reflect inward as a group as they prepared themselves both emotionally and physically. Spirits were high as the group headed down to their first adventure location; huge sand dunes at the Little Sahara Recreation Area. Upon arrival the students wasted no time getting into the fun activities, including jumping, and running down the dunes, playing the group’s favorite game “dogs” with a hacky sack, and even sandboarding down the steep dunes! Many wipeouts were experienced, yet simultaneously just as many if not more cheers and laughs of support were had throughout the day!
After leaving the dunes, the group headed off to the next exciting location of adventure, lava tubes! The group was eager to explore the dimly lit caves and was in awe at the remarkable depth and breadth of the lava-formed chasms. At one point the group decided to have 10 minutes of silence in the darkest part of the caves with no lights on. A great 10 minutes of peace and solitude followed as the group perfectly kept their goal of the full 10 minutes.
The students were also able to conquer some of the fears they hold; physically, emotionally, and mentally. Although the cumulative emotions bubbled up for our students as they began their ascent on the rocks, with some students even sharing an audible yell upon the first attempt of their climb, all the students persisted through the vertical challenge and conquered their climb! The Roos demonstrated a great deal of determination and had an absolute blast as they morphed into Spider-men and climbed the sheer walls! Overall, the group was able to feel a sense of accomplishment throughout their adventure expedition as well as share many laughs throughout the week. The Ulurus experienced pure joy as they tapped into their inner “adventurer”, and we look forward to their continued adventures life brings their way!
This week the Ulurus bloomed like desert flowers as they celebrated one another and welcomed new members into the group. The students were immediately absorbed into the magnetic energy of our Ulurus; they bonded over common interests, imitating the cows that were feeding nearby, and broke bread (aka ashcakes) together. We held plenty of gatherings this week as the students took the initiative to share their stories and challenges with one another. One student shared his life story, and another shared his letter about his next adventures beyond outBACK; both were met with words of reassurance and the warmth of fire and friendship.
We held an activity called Family Sculpting that challenged the students to create a physical representation of their families, whatever the definition of that may be, and they were allowed to use anything they could find around them. When everyone rejoined the circle with their materials, we watched as the creative juices flowed freely and brows furrowed with intense concentration. When time was up, each student presented their families to the group, and we watched as the veil of mystery slowly peeled away from each Uluru. We discussed vulnerability, hopes, and dreams, wishes, and wants, and then finally gave in to the desires of the deepest organ of the soul: hungry stomachs.
The hikes during our backcountry expedition this week were few, but the determination and energy were immeasurable as we made it from point A to point B with tired feet and sweat marks to prove it. We settled at our therapy site and the good times rolled on as the students worked on crafts, new recipes, and therapeutic assignments. One Uluru even transitioned over from first camp this week!
Last, but certainly not least, one of our very own got his trail name this week. We are proud to present our audience with…drumroll please…Compassionate Leopard! We look forward to reporting more wonderful things that will inevitably come from our Ulurus. For now, we hope you all have an uluroosome week!
The Boom Squad had a wonderful week full of many accomplishments, laughter, and deep therapeutic conversations. The students got to build great rapport together; creating many new friendships at outBACK. The week started off strong with lots of changes being made at the last minute and the Boom squad also had the chance to welcome in new students. Mending Velvet Ant did an awesome job making the newest member feel welcome by helping them with organization of backcountry gear, the art of building a busting bow, and general check ins to see how they were doing. Mending Velvet Ant’s help with the busting bow proved to be fruitful as the newest member was able to accomplish busting his FIRST coal and blowing it into flames! The group was ecstatic and kept the momentum going which helped him continue to successfully get more coals and flames. He continued his success with busting as he provided fire to the group for the next two days. It was an amazing thing for everyone to witness that week, and it was the students’ biggest highlight as well.
The group showed great flexibility and kept a positive attitude as additional shifts and changes had to be made with the group. The days ran smoothly and in the middle of their week, they also got to welcome another fellow student. The other students were very helpful in helping him complete his First Camp book and engaging in lots of friendly conversations. He was able to make an A Frame pack and a busting kit. Through the help of one another, the new students were able to complete their first camp book! Mending Velvet Ant was given a wonderful opportunity to meet with another group of students to spend some time there at various times in the day and then rejoin her fellow Boom Squad. She showed great mentoring skills to both groups and lead a token ceremony honoring two staff this week and presented them with the Openness and Brightness Tokens. The group was awesome as they held space and shared positive heartfelt highlights of each of the staff. The students were able to express deep thoughts and feelings, specifically about how much they loved their therapy sessions that week. Overall, we built new friendships, and together got through the week working through the challenges we faced and ending it all in a positive note!