The Goannas had a week of many changes, with Insightful Willow finishing their stay and Magnificent Goat going on peak. All of the new students were welcomed with open arms and open hearts. Everyone was very excited for the new students and had a great time bonding, and creating a new culture for the evolving group. Loving Aurora held a welcoming and expectations ceremony for the new students. The week started off with some cold weather and more snow, but as it progressed, the weather got warmer and warmer reaching the 60s on the first day of March! Loving Aurora was under the weather for the first several days of the week, but the group really rallied around to uplift them not only physically, but emotionally. Because of this, the group had two pretty short hikes on Thursday and Friday and then strongly advocated to staff and Field Directors to do a day hike without packs on Saturday allowing more time for skills and to show the new students fun exploring the field. Two new Goannas were able to make big progress on backpacks. Loving Aurora and Dauntless Ox were both able to complete their possibles bags. Loving Aurora also completed their quiver and Ngarna 1 as well as started to create a flute. Dauntless Ox even made spoons for the new Goannas.
The day hike was approved, and the students were thrilled to venture to a nearby corral. They explored the ins and outs of the corale area followed by games similar to baseball with a hackysack! The students had an absolute blast with some good, friendly competition. A few of the students got creative and vouched to make a hammock for themselves, which inspired other group members to do the same. We had a trail naming ceremony for Energetic Beast, and one of the new students got a Brightness token for the fantastic energy and perspective they’ve brought to the group.
This week, the Pindari had one of hard work, achievement, and community. We started out the week strong with a series of commitments to therapeutic and personal goals. The students were able to follow through on their objectives by reorganizing their priorities and making time for the things they had expressed a dedication for. Some of these dedications included: getting out of first camp, truthfully working on therapeutic assignments and working hard to support each other as a group, and attempting to master the challenges of making fire. Despite one of our members feeling a little under the weather for a bit, the group was able to hit logistical goals and keep things running, with the other students picking up the slack so he could rest. One of the days, the Pindari peaked a nearby hill and revelled in the beauty of the desert from a higher perspective.
As the week moved forward, the group shared many laughs, songs, and heartfelt moments around the campfire, and spent their days honing skills and thoughtfully working on assignments. One of the students opened up to the group and showed true vulnerability by sharing his life story with the group. While fire making can be difficult to learn, two of the Pindari persevered through all the troubleshooting difficulties to successfully bust their first coals. The group is poised to take charge of the culture of the Pindari, and pass on the legacy to all students to come.
This week the Uluru maintained high spirits and energy, singing songs and joking around despite cold temps, difficult hikes, and the day to day camp chores. They started out between the Red Pine and Indian Peak mountains and ended up closer to the foothills of Red Pine. After Breakfast every morning, the students enjoyed playing the group game mafia. At one point during the week, several of the students were emotionally vulnerable as they shared placement letters with the group. On the last night, several students were excited to try dessert cinnamon rolls for the first time. We all learned how to roll dough mixed with sugar and cinnamon and bake it over open campfire coals. We even made icing!
Later on in the week, the students were particularly excited to go on a day hike. At first, it was hard to walk away from all the cool skills we were working on including: backpacks, possibles bags, a quiver, and busting. Once we started exploring, we found a good hill, and the students and staff were excited to go sledding. Students put their coats on backwards to allow the smooth back of their jacket to act as a sled on which they could slide down the hill. They resembled penguins sliding on the snow on their stomachs.
On the latter half of the week, group members were excited to work on and complete various projects. One student finished a beautiful leather possibilities bag, and another finished a zip up quiver, while others worked on their wooden A-frame packs. Overall, a good week for the Uluru group!
On this episode of peak we were accompanied by two students, Magnificient Goat and Radiant Sequoia. Right off the bat the students were super open and were able to create a safe space for themselves and staff. The students quickly established a bond amongst themselves to build each other up, support one another, and hold space for each other. This tone set the table for really productive gatherings and deep conversations.
This week we traveled down to St.George, Utah where we were able to rappel off Dixie Rock. The students were challenged with abseiling off of a cliff that measured about 60 feet. They conquered their fear of heights and came out on top. Radiant Sequoia was feeling nervous and hesitant to walk off the ledge; he found the courage and completed the rappel. Later in the week the students climbed at Black rocks. Students were able to overcome fears and do things they thought they would never try. After climbing we had a group discussion on “getting uncomfortable” and the process of learning how to be okay in new situations.
The students favorite part of this week was hiking in Red Cliffs and since it had just rained all of the waterfalls were going strong. We were able to scramble up a rock pile where Magnificent Goat led a gathering on his parent visit. Our final day hiking we wandered through Snow Canyon State Park and took some personal time at the base of a few 700ft cliffs, knocked out Nagarnas, and finished reading Anatomy of Peace. We finished the week off in the West Desert after some weather changed our plan and presented both students and two staff receiving peak tokens–we discussed how to re-enter our groups as leaders and ended with the goal to leave this week a stronger leader/mentor for those who walk along with us during this journey.