Wilderness Weekly 12.10.21

Photo Credit: Luke Richardson, Snow Canyon State Park; Unsplash


This week, the reemergence of the Brumbies group was made possible by combining students from some of the other groups with new members who beginning their journey at outBACK. Students had the chance to create a new culture and ethic system, which consisted of persistence, integrity, community, and resilience. They worked on ways through which they wished to welcome new students into the group by brainstorming ideas such as: creating a group symbol, a recipe book and essentials book to pass down to future generations to come. 


This week was filled with ceremony, laughter, and fostering a positive and safe space among the Pindaris. Brave Roots and Enduring Moose departed outBACK to continue their journey elsewhere, leaving the group to take on new leadership and cultivating a wholesome culture for themselves. We held several intentional and inviting gatherings posing these questions: “What does a safe space mean? What are boundaries? What are our boundaries? What if others don’t respect our boundaries?” to name a few. The group made a concerted effort to develop a safe space for each other to work on therapeutic goals. This emotional safety allowed the individual members of the group to open up and bond on a new level. The activities of the week included several successful hikes (for a total mileage of about 3 miles) during the expedition portion of our week, group reading, some engaging Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying, stargazing, and sunrise walks. The group devoted time to honoring each other in the form of ceremonies, with one student receiving the Openness Token for a second time, another student receiving the Winged Heart Token, and another receiving his trail name: Bounding Willow. Altogether, the week was one of positivity, unity, and therapeutic progress. 


The Ulurus began their eventful week saying farewell to a couple of students who went on to experience their Peak Adventure Therapy Week. Students were able to use their artistic expression through character development in prepping for a round of Dungeons and Dragons. Using our imagination we created a world of Gnomes, Elves, Druids, Halflings, Wizards, and otherworldly characters. Knot Tying 101 commenced as students were learning to set up personal shelters, main camp, and ribbing packs. Several students displayed vulnerability while sharing letters regarding their next chapter of life beyond outBACK with the group: a challenging and courageous act. Students also spent time reflecting on past behaviors and choices they had made and thoughtfully wrote the ways in which they wished to hold themselves accountable. We talked about what accountability means and how there is no right or wrong and  there is no shame in one’s past. Students inquired and really dug deep to put on paper their viewpoints and what they want to communicate to their parents. The emotional leader of the group led a gathering on the topic of Heart at War/ Heart at Peace. Many of the students offered examples of what it can feel like to have a heart at war and a heart at peace with the group. We utilized our First Camp book to reflect upon the Way of Being and seeing people as people. Ngarna parties were held daily as some students worked enthusiastically on their First Camp books. Creativity throughout the group was a highlight of the week as students sewed leather onto their pack straps, carved spoons, and designed puwakas (keeper’s pouches). The students all finished the week with their therapy assignments completed and with full busting sets. Halfway through the week the Ulurus merged with the Brumbies and all of the students connected well as the energy of the week increased with the merge. 

Peak Week - Adventure Therapy @ outBACK

On this chapter of Peak Adventure Therapy Week, we headed into the South Desert and explored Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon. This entailed some minor canyoneering and scrambling. After leaving Little Wild Horse we headed to Fremont State Park and had the chance to cook and enjoy a delicious spaghetti with vegetables dinner that evening. The group made their way to St. George and Snow Canyon State Park and while in Snow Canyon, one of the adventure specialists, “Chef Brian” made curry that was enjoyed by all. Our adventures led us to Johnson’s Arch in Snow Canyon where we contemplated how the arch was formed and enjoyed the stars at camp where we were greeted by a star link (Elon Musk giant satellite).

The next morning we headed back to the field to rock climb in the desert mountains. All students attempted to climb and some were able to make it to the top of one of our two climbs. This activity was definitely our most challenging, especially because many of our students had to face their fear of heights and place trust in other students to belay them with accompanying staff’s assistance. Prior to disbanding our Peak Week crew and having the students return to their respective groups, we made a fire and celebrated what this culminating week brought up for our students as they reflected on transition and next steps. The students were presented with the peak patch and shared the strengths they witnessed of one another and the continued personal growth through this unique chapter of our outBACK journey.

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Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is continuing to support families through this unprecedented time. We are closely monitoring information related to COVID-19, adhering to recommendations set forth by CDC, and have implemented additional safety precautions to mitigate risks. To learn more, contact us at 800-817-1899.