Wilderness Weekly 4.16.21

Pindaris: The week began with bittersweet goodbyes to some of the Pindari members. The exiting elders left behind the challenge of continuing to build and maintain a strong group culture . They were challenged with delegating tasks between fewer members, and they responded to the challenge by becoming a well oiled machine throughout the week. The group completed four strong hikes, saddling over a mountain and collecting the coveted desert willow tree along the way. During skills time, the group used the willow to make H-frame packs, walking sticks and rings. The group ended the week in a new area of the field, enjoying the views and creating flutes out of clay with Scott.

Lorikeets: The Lorikeets had an adventure-packed week full of creativity and vulnerability. Exploring Judd Canyon was one of the highlights of the week ,as the group was able to dip their toes in a stream, gather sage spindles, and harvest cottonwood for fire busting boards. The group participated in a gathering surrounding the petroglyphs found in the canyon. Multiple people shared their life story and demonstrated the resiliency they have built for themselves.  Three members of the group led their first ceremony. One Lorikeet and guide was honored with their trail name and three other students were honored with their tokens. The Lorikeets welcomed a new student and offered support and guidance into the program. Throughout the week, the students pushed through challenging situations and worked hard to bust multiple coals.

Goannas: The Goannas spent the week focusing on the theme of resilience. They had a gathering where they drew symbols of resilience in their lives and shared with the group. They advocated for a mid-week feedback gathering in the face of group conflict and were able to give each other helpful, constructive feedback. One student received their trail name this week: ‘Striking Ember’. The group held a token ceremony where the maker, peacewalker, and strongcord tokens were all given out. At the end of the week the group was able to come together to process some conflict and take accountability for their parts. The week ended with a wonder circle where the group wondered out loud in a gathering and spent time relating to each other. 

Ulurus: The Ulurus had a great week working with and supporting each other. The group began the week saying goodbye to some beloved longtime members of the group and the remaining members of the team began creating a new group culture together. Members pushed through some longer hikes this week than they were used to. On the final hike, the group made a decision to cross-country over and through canyons , pushing to the therapy site. Three members of the group obtained the tokens Letting Go, Peacewalker, and Giver. The group ended the week with some bowdrilling and crafting. The group obtained many coals and many flames. We had a week full of games such as helium stick, Frank Sinatra, Contact, and Hey Bob! All of the students spent a lot of their time laughing and having fun out in the desert this week.

Brumbies: The Brumbies began the week with determination to build their fire making confidence and enjoy the process of learning along the way. Each member of the group made a coal by the end of the week and proudly blew at least one into flames. The group hiked hard each day, with one trail taking them around the base of an entire mountain range, but the favorite hike of the week was the last one that led the group under a canopy of juniper trees. One group member received his trail name, “Tilled Sands”, an homage to his willingness to grow and his depth in emotional communication. Another member was honored with his first token, Openness, for his first steps toward change in the group and a challenge to continue opening his mind to new possibilities. The group is continuing to learn how to juggle multiple responsibilities and growing each day.

Check Out What’s Happening in 1st Camp @ outBACK

This week in First Camp, we introduced the students to life at outBACK. Those who were already here acted as an example for the new campers. The students learned how to cook over an open fire making garlic bread, mini apple pie and tortillas. They worked on First Camp books, which teach the history and significance of everything we do at  outBACK. Some students were able to learn to make different crafts such as wooden rings, leather bags, and wooden spoons. The group’s spirits were high and the group decided to go on  daily walks to see the different mountain ranges, look for tarantula holes, spot different wildlife and play “get to know you” games on the way. And to close off the day, staff read short stories to the campers while they prepared for bed.

Peak Week: Adventure Therapy @outBACK

This week, the students had a challenging and rewarding Peak Week. The students began the week excited and motivated, and quickly formed connections with one another. The group was nervous at the prospect of leaving the field and the unknown peak schedule, but were able to process their fears and anxieties in a gathering on the first day – opening up about their issues surrounding control and uncertainty, while still expressing interest in the challenges they would face in the coming week. On Saturday, the group tackled a strenuous and beautiful hike at Sandstorm mountain, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the striking red rock formations. The group participated in a meaningful gathering about perspective and their self-image mid-way through the hike and each student was able to process some of their fears surrounding their next steps, supporting one another and sharing similar experiences.

The students were extremely motivated to climb, and woke up on Monday feeling nervous but excited to push their limits. Many of the students began the day fearful of getting on the wall, but eager to belay and encourage one another. However, after the first student climbed and each of them took a turn at belaying, they all pushed themselves and attempted to climb, many of them successfully reaching the top of every climb they tried. On the final day in St. George, the group hiked through Snow Canyon and took some personal time to reflect on their surroundings and their stay at outback, each of them completing a writing assignment and journaling. The group also honored two members with tokens, creating a beautiful, intentional space and making meaningful notes with kind words to give to the two recipients. On the last day, the group came together to bust a final coal for dinner, successfully getting four coals with three students blowing into flame. The students enjoyed a last sunset in the west desert and a powerful final gathering about communication and self awareness. Overall, the students’ last week at Outback was full of growth, laughter, and connection.

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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.