The Goannas absolutely crushed this week out in the desert! Early on, a Goanna was honored with his trail name Insightful Willow, while six other members were honored with various tokens. The Goannas had the opportunity to jumpstart the week by beginning their hiking journey a day earlier than usual. They were able to rally together and support each other through each of the hike days. On Friday the students were in for a special treat as they were given the opportunity to fire clay in a bonfire constructed by staff. While not all of the Goanna’s had creations that made it through the firing process, the group was very excited for their next opportunity to work with clay. Midweek, they were presented with the opportunity to complete the Giant Busting Set challenge. While the Goannas were not able to create a coal on the giant set, they did succeed in solidifying their camaraderie and learning positive communication strategies for seemingly insurmountable tasks. As the week progressed the Goannas had numerous opportunities to explore therapeutic themes and to support one another on their journeys.
Topics addressed through the week included resilience, positive coping strategies, perspective building, conflict resolution skills, and strategies for maintaining an emotionally safe environment. While there were several instances of tension within the group, they consistently rallied together to utilize positive coping strategies and conflict resolution skills to strengthen the emotional safety of the group. Overall the Goannas had a very successful week with warm weather and beautiful sights to be seen.
This week our students were the shining exemplifications of everything a Pindari aims to be. We had a strong start with a couple of hikes that motivated the students to become more efficient at getting everything ready to go bright and early. By the end of the week we made record times for both of our last hikes and the students proudly took all of the credit. We said goodbye to Energetic Mongoose, wishing them well on their next journey, and welcomed a brand new Pindari on the very last day. Despite Christmas already passing and the students being on their very best behavior, this was a week of many coals. Unbroken Bear got their 20th coal, along with a goal to reach a whopping 100 by the time they leave, and it set the whole team ablaze to get their own. Another student got their third coal and a staff member even blew their first into flame! The students also had a lot of down time to work on their skills and focus on their personal progress–this was very apparent in our nightly gatherings as they had much to contribute. In this week alone they each showed significant personal growth and followed it up with even more introspection. The Pindari are a very hungry group in every sense of the word and if this week were a feast, there would be no crumbs left!
The Ulurus had an eventful week with many adjustments as a student joined the group and Resilient Moon left the group. We held a goodbye gathering for Resilient Moon up on the hill where we watched the sunset and had a fire–he was dearly missed throughout the week. The group held a trail naming ceremony for a staff member who was dubbed Inspiring Megalodon. The group played many games and were able to teach our new group member fun recipes around the fire. The Ulurus absolutely crushed two mile hikes on back to back days, enjoying the warm, sunny weather. Saturday night was a big busting night, with multiple students busting coals and Exotic Raven blowing a coal into flames for the group. The group worked through a morning of challenging dynamics, where staff was able to take a step back (act as “ghost staff”) and allow the group to take care of all camp responsibilities. The day ended on a high note with Electric Scorpion leading an impactful gathering on the earlier events. Big changes are ahead for the Ulurus!