Wilderness Weekly 12.3.21


The Brumbies celebrated Thanksgiving with staff and the leadership team where we cooked a feast over the fire and hot coals. The menu for Thanksgiving consisted of turkey, buttered corn, mashed sweet potatoes, stuffing, rolls, apple pie, and pumpkin pie with cream. In addition, staff held a gathering later on in the evening on culture, identity, and traditions to tie in the Thanksgiving theme. Students also played red light/green light, ninja, and mafia with field staff during the week. 

The Brumbies were able to successfully delegate tasks and chores to pack up camp successfully, where they completed several hikes with our packs during the expedition portion of our week, along with one day hike. This day hike consisted of collecting wood for spindles, A-frames to make packs, and bows for fire busting sets. In addition, some of the students helped create a ceremony circle to honor one student with the trail name, Charismatic Dolphin, and awarded other students with the Winged Heart, and Truth Speaker tokens. Lastly, two of the eldest students were picked up to go on Peak Adventure Therapy week. Overall, the group was able to create a safe space for all students to feel comfortable and embrace diversity and change. 


The Goannas had a solid week, we celebrated Thanksgiving with turkey, sweet potato casserole, rolls, stuffing and pie! A couple of group members contributed by making a football and there was a riveting game of Thanksgiving football played before we feasted. Then we surprised the group with breakfast pie the next day and group morale was very high. Later in the week we celebrated Hanukkah with candles and making latkes in the field. We hiked 4.5 miles one day during the expedition part of the week, which was a huge accomplishment for our group. Everyone kept their spirits up and the group really crushed it setting up and taking down camp throughout the week. Many coals were busted throughout the week and gatherings were centered around coping skills. We had students  who were honored with tokens- Letting Go and Maker token.  Resilient Monarch was given his trail name and the Maker token. We also have students who will be transitioning onto their next adventure. This will create opportunities for new students to step up as the leaders in the group and become an exciting new phase for the Goannas!


The Pindari processed through a lot of emotions as the holidays came and went. While expressing their emotions, they were able to lean on each other and get the support from their Pindari community members while being away from parents, siblings, extended family members, and other relatives. The students expressed that they enjoyed Thanksgiving out in the field– they were surprised with a day filled with games, a large turkey, stuffing, sweet corn, and bread rolls. To top it off, we were able to watch a beautiful sunset to end the day. A few of the students who celebrate Hanukkah were able to light candles and make a menorah, along with making latkes each night. As the week went on the group was open and willing to have a few conversations about what it means to be in a collusion cycle. Once there was an understanding on what a collusion cycle was, the students then took accountability and expressed they would do better to treat people like people. 

The Pindaris are very physically capable and are able to get camp set up quickly so that left lots of time for fun and games. We were able to play baseball with a makeshift ball and bat that the students made, camouflage, and mission impossible. During the expedition portion of the week, we hiked 7 miles total and were able to watch some wild horses grazing in the field once we got to our last site for the week. 

Throughout the week the students expressed that they wanted to give a staff his trail name. They were able to build a beautiful ceremony circle without him catching on and honoring him on the last day of our shift. The students are very good at coming up with adjectives and nouns that best describe our staff. Mysterious Koi is the trail name the students chose for a staff this week.


Ulurus experienced a lot of change this past week as some of the students shifted into new groups. They were able to process and help each other as they spent Thanksgiving in the desert. They were all excited for the surprise of a Thanksgiving feast, cooking on the fire and hot coals. The food consisted of turkey, stuffing, corn, and lots of pie!

They overcame challenges as a group and as individuals when it came to the hikes. The boys struggled organizing for the hikes and with building proper packs during preparation. They successfully completed a number of pack hikes. Lots of support came from each other and finding strength within themselves to overcome each of those challenges. They also worked on skills for building fires and refining their packs, making the group function more efficiently together.

Several students were honored with tokens this week: The Openness token was given to a student who showed growth in understanding themselves and others. The Giver token was given to a student who shined in helping the group and individuals. The Brightness token was given to a student whose humor and stories brought joy to the whole group everyday.

Overall the Ulurus had a successful week and pulled together with individual and group challenges. They enjoyed passing the handball and telling stories to one another over the campfire on Thanksgiving and really being a family for each other away from home.


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