Goannas: The Goannas had a week full of exciting new experiences. During one of their hikes, the group created an “apache match”, which is a long collection of bark containing a number of coals. Using teamwork and careful maintenance, the students managed to keep the fire going within the apache match for an entire two mile hike. Students also climbed up a large hill during a day hike and witnessed a breathtaking view of our field at sunset. While at camp, the students continued their ngarnas, practiced busting, and created hiking sticks out of willow. The guides also read Touching Spirit Bear, a student favorite, throughout the week.
Midway through the week the group experienced a ghost challenge, a rare opportunity in which staff stop giving direction to the group and the students are expected to take the lead. Although there were a few kinks to work out, the older students provided excellent leadership and managed to lead a successful pack up, hike, and camp set up with minimal staff intervention.
Thanksgiving was very special for the kids. The goannas reunited with their old friends in the Dingoes and had a big feast, which included yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and of course, turkey. Right as dinner began huge snowflakes began to fall throughout the desert, creating a beautiful display that captured the entire group’s attention. The Goannas concluded the festivities by playing the Dingoes in a few competitive games of “doubleball”. The game is set up similarly to lacrosse, but uses two bags of sewn rice as a ball and lengths of willow as lacrosse sticks. Although they were sad to see the day end, several Goannas commented that it had been one of their most enjoyable days at Outback.
Overall it was a week to remember for the Goannas. Staff were proud of the growth the students displayed, and can’t wait to see how the Goannas continue to grow as the year closes.
Gnowees: The Gnowees had a challenging week filled with long hikes and a surprise snowfall that allowed for a lot of fun with snowballs and snowmen. At the beginning of the week, the group left the Oasis area behind and did some amazing hiking to get us into the beautiful Broad Canyon range. We enjoyed incredible views and spectacular sunsets at this area. We focused a great deal this week on building and establishing a healthy and thriving group culture. Each student was willing to make great personal changes and willing to embark on solid personal growth to attain a heightened level of group culture. The new students are settling in very well and the elder students mentoring beautifully. We enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving feast and holiday rest day, complete with gratitude cards and many smiles. It was clear how appreciative the students are of their families and abundance in life. The turkey was as delicious as the pumpkin pie and we especially enjoyed sharing favorite family traditions. We ended the week with an amazing mountain saddle wherein each of the students truly rose to the opportunity of seeing how strong and whole they have become during their time here, both new and elder students realizing how resilient and empowered they are.
Ulurus: The Ulurus experienced some challenges as they adapted to changes in weather patterns and went out on long hikes. The group left the Keg mountain range behind and journey into new territory for most of the group. The theme of the week was resilience and we talked about new ways to cope with difficult situations to help ourselves become more resilient individuals. The group also had the chance to do an “egg drop” activity in which partnerships were tasked with building a structure that could shelter an egg from a drop of about 25 feet. We enjoyed a fantastic Thanksgiving feast and took the time to reflect on the many things in life we have to be thankful for. We ate turkey, stuffing, yams, and heaps of pumpkin pie. The boys raved about the food and went to bed feeling full and happy. We also witnessed the first snow of winter out in the field on Thanksgiving, which was a nice surprise for the students! The week ended with waking up to a white blanket covering the ground and an epic capture the flag style snowball fight.
Dingoes: The Dingoes had a great week of improvement and growth in personal and group areas. They really enjoyed feasting and playing double ball on Thanksgiving with the Goannas. The boys had guesses but didn’t know that they would have company for the holiday until the morning of when we were setting up a bigger main camp. We also surprised them with the traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Even better, we had leftovers for breakfast the next morning. We experienced two days of snow and played a game of capture the flag. Aspiring River received his trail name and the Letting Go token, Zen Dolphin received the Winged Heart token, and another student received Strong Cord.