Dingoes: The Dingoes had an action-packed week and hiked 5 days. The group has become extremely proficient with packing up camp and hitting the road early in the day. We had beautiful, sunny weather almost every day—perfect for hiking in the desert. We were a smaller group this week with 4 Dingoes on Peak Week, but we were happy to welcome a new student into the group. The students worked hard at busting coals this week, getting their sets into prime condition and making fire consistently by the end of the week. Two Dingoes received their trail names, Zen Panda and Peaceful Wizard. Two other Dingos received the tokens Letting Go and Truth Speaker.
Ulurus: This week the Ulurus dealt with many challenges and worked on group dynamics. Through these trials they learned much about teamwork and effective communication. The group welcomed back two elder Uluru from Peak Week who provided much needed leadership and support. The group had several exciting moments including day hikes, hacky sack competitions, and extensive skills time. Some of the skills included bone necklaces, spoons, elaborate bows, and new packs. The group enjoyed some clear skies viewing the milky way and vast amounts of stars. Overall the Ulurus continued to persevere through challenges while growing into a cohesive unit.
BOOM: One student in the Uluru had the opportunity to go on a “boomerang” this week and spend time away from the group exploring the desert while learning more about himself. We peaked the tallest mountain in sight and looked over the vast desert below us, reflecting on how far this student has traveled during his time at Outback. At the end of the week, the student received the openness token to honor him for his willingness to share about his life and his open mind about learning new strategies to help him cope with challenging situations.
Gnowees: The Gnowees had an exceptional week. They crossed a few canyons to get to a new mountain range and greatly increased their physical and emotional strength doing so! Mentorship and laughter were constants throughout the week. The Gnowees are loving their therapy dog and taking great care of him. They are beginning to work together as a very strong team. The new students are making spoons and completing backpacks with great skill.
Peak Week – Adventure Therapy @ outBACK
This week saw four Dingoes and two Ulurus coming together to explore the canyons and Crags of Southern Utah. We hiked into the meadow lava tubes stopping along the way to explore where our personal journeys began, and who we had grown into. Many students talked about using substances, or compromising their values in order to fit in. Many felt they were in a better place to avoid that behavior now than they had been before they came to Outback. Others talked about feeling more present in the moment, and more proud of themselves than they had in a long time.
Then, we were off to St George, to climb and rappel in the beautiful limestone and sandstone crags The group worked together to support each other, and to keep each other safe. New friendships were formed, students pushed themselves through new and exhilarating climbing situations, and they learned to trust one another. One student, had a particularly difficult time learning to belay and climb. He took space for himself, gathered his thoughts, and came back to climb and belay with proficiency and confidence. The look on his face was that of someone who truly felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Others talked of a fear of heights, or mounting anxiety, yet they all managed to push through this discomfort to find success on the wall.
Next we headed off to Red Cliffs, A beautiful canyon and natural playground. Students explored the rocks and found small caves one of which contained ancient petroglyphs .Among the rock carvings we honored A students with a peace walker token. His ability to remain at peace with others in the midst of their frustrations invited others to honor him. It was one of several token ceremonies that week. It was a week of fun and personal growth for students and staff alike.