Pindaris: The Pindaris had a wonderful time contending with the first true snowstorm of the winter. They hiked up and over a mountain pass to a campsite that was completely covered in snow. At that site, the group created ceremonial grounds with a gorgeous view of the surrounding desert to honor each other for their strengths. In this ceremony, a student got a new trail name, “Smoldering Snow Leopard.” Smoldering Snow Leopard also received a symbolic token called Giver, as his peers wanted to honor the fact that he is constantly giving himself to the group; both physical and emotional service. Wise Tundra and Powerful Kodiak, both independently and without knowing, gave each other the Strong Cord token. They both wanted to honor each other’s ability to be a binding presence within the group; always working together to bring people together through their exceptional leadership qualities. The Pindaris were very excited by the fresh snowfall and made “ice cream” with it. Due to the cold and wet conditions, the students were challenged in making fire, and persevered through busting, even after hiking in the snow! All in all, the Pindaris flourished through a challenging week, savoring the warmth of the fire and their camaraderie.
Gnowees: This week the Gnowees came together as a team in communicating and working together to accomplish group chores. Early on we were treated to a desert snowstorm which sparked the Gnowees’ desire to find, create and ride a homemade toboggan. They spent the week preparing “secret santa” gifts for each other to make the upcoming holidays special out in the desert. We had two great hikes, the last of which was at the site where we were treated with the sight of the astronomical phenomenon known as the Christmas Star which only happens every 800 years. Throughout the week, the Gnowees spent time learning from and supporting one another in their therapeutic goals. Gatherings included reflecting on the concept of resilience, both in terms of life in the desert and life outside of it. Overall it was a meaningful week filled with a variety of playful moments and hopes for the coming days to be just as bright.
Goannas: The Goannas were productive as they assisted new members in acclimating to the group as the elders remain prominent leaders. The staff were enamored with the potential of a dichotomy filled with resilience after the group pushed each other through a challenging hike during a wilderness snowfall. Members of the Goannas honored one another with multiple tokens including Brightness, Vital Fire, and Openness. Our veteran member “Genuine Galaxy” completed his journey successfully and his peers conducted a goodbye gathering to send him off with the same compassion he kept in the group. The boys are looking forward to spending a unique and tight-knit Christmas at Outback while keeping their families close at heart. The Goannas will continue their quest to be the best versions of themselves and make meaningful connections with high deserts of Utah.
Ulurus: The Ulurus had a good start with several students working to transition from first camp to main camp. Although some of the students struggled during the hikes, all were supportive and understanding when breaks were needed. They worked hard and were able to make it into camp before sunset each hike, with time to spare to set up campsites with natural lighting. Our time together brought to the surface, some obstacles to work through and all the boys came together and helped each other out as well as provided support whenever it was needed. Three tokens were given out this week; Blossoming Lotus received the Solid Ground token, Spirited Phoenix received the Brightnesstoken, and Colorful Orca received the Giver token. The boys were excited to welcome yet another member to the group during the latter portion of our time together.
Check Out What’s Happening in 1st Camp @ outBACK
This week in first camp, the students were excited to work on skills and we had fun making backpacks, carving spoons and even working on other creative projects such as making sling, a butter knife and an Apache Match. Mornings were spent gathering firewood and preparing food for breakfast, followed by skills time and our everyday sunset walks where we huddled around the fire and tried new recipes for dinner. We got lucky enough to be able to see wild horses from our camp and coyotes sang us to sleep. Overall it was a great week in 1st camp. The students made good progress and are ready to join their groups to continue their journeys at Outback.
Peak Week – Adventure Therapy @ outBACK
The beginning of the week started with some team building games to bring the group together as well as a wonderful hike to Goblin’s Lair, in Goblin Valley. From there, we moved down to St. George where we explored a canyon and grew closer as a peak crew. While in the canyon the students supported each other in getting through the obstacles and and moving past some discomforts. We focused heavily on the transition from outBACK to their respective next steps beyond wilderness. Some of the students focused on identifying strategies to utilize if and when they might find themselves spinning in old narratives that no longer serve them and/or exhibiting old maladaptive behaviors. Peak week, as always, brought us the pleasure of climbing on some of Utah’s best rock during our climbing progression. Here, the students thrived and pushed themselves past their comfort zone to expand into new heights; both physically and mentally. In doing so the students learned to achieve their goals and exceed their limits not only here at outBACK but in their continued growth.