Wilderness Weekly 4.28.22

A field of wildflowers at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions, a wilderness therapy program for teens

Goannas:

The Goannas grew closer this week by creating a safe place to communicate and share thoughts and feedback so they could grow together. They were able to appropriately hold space for feedback to be given and then implemented throughout the week. The group pushed through some long, hilly hikes, and attempted to peak Red Pine, the most technical mountain we can peak in the desert! The weather fluctuated between strong bursts of glorious sunshine and short, yet powerful bursts of snow, which forced the group to turn back before hitting the peak. But before that, the group had some great views of the area with mountains in the distance in all directions. Despite the incoming weather, the group banded together just a little longer to pose for yet another picturesque photo shoot.

On another hike, the group was greeted with a pack of wild horses with beautiful shadowy complexions. The horses were initially interested in the group’s presence, and then quickly trotted away upon realizing the group of two legged’s were not their own. Spirited Panther had a powerful parent visit and shared about their experience with the group. They spoke highly of the quality time they got to spend with their mother and the honesty and vulnerability of the meeting positively impacted him.  We were able to give the newest student in the group their trail name, Admiral Mustang, before other members of the group went separate directions. Honorable Rhino also received the Giver Token for their stellar week as the emotional leader supporting their group members.

The week ended with a new student being welcomed into the group–he is already finding his place amongst his peers. While the group continues to grow and while saying goodbye to older members, the Goanna community continues to progress each day in the desert!

Pindaris:

The Pindari had an epic week characterized by resilience and therapeutic growth. Early on in the week the group had the opportunity to welcome a brand new member into the Pindari family. The group was excited to embrace their new member by immediately playing games and developing deep and meaningful connections. As the week progressed they were able to wish a longstanding member farewell as he completed his stay at outBACK. While it was certainly bittersweet to see such a longstanding leader depart, the group expressed gratitude at being able to develop meaningful connections and memories with their fellow Pindari. 

The students were able to rally together to crush their hikes and support one another over difficult terrain. While there were several instances of discord within the group, the Pindari consistently worked together to process their emotions, develop positive communication strategies, moving towards their individual and communal therapeutic goals. On one of the hikes we were able to see all three of the tallest peaks in our desert area, as we moved as a group through the valley between them. The field is in a transition period and spring is very much upon us. Flowers have started to bloom and the field is coming alive with nature, on one night the group was sitting in awe as coyote’s howled in the distance. The magic of the desert was felt by the entire group that evening.

Towards the end of the week, one of the Pindari was honored with their trail name of Zen Orangutan. There were also numerous opportunities to play games and do various team building activities such as capture the flag, glove tag, and dogs! Overall the Pindari experienced success throughout the week and were able to rally together to support each other through both emotionally and physically challenging circumstances.   

Ulurus:

The Ulurus had an epic week in the desert. The week started off with new students coming to join the group. They integrated into the group well and were beginning to make connections and learn about living in the desert within their first few hours. On Thursday, we had the privilege of joining forces with potential new guides on a day hike where veteran members of the were able to share their extended knowledge of outBACK, and newer students were able to learn alongside the potential new guides.

On Friday, the group washed off the rust of therapy site on their first hike of the week and completed a challenging 2 mile hike in the varied weather of desert Spring. They laughed their way down the road as mother nature tried to intimidate them with her tricky ways. The next day the group recuperated with lots of personal time, check-ins with staff, and a long group game of hacky sack. On Sunday, the group gathered for a trail naming ceremony for a spirited member of the group. Iron Coyote and Majestic Sunrise led the ceremony and named Joyous Monkey into the group. That same day we had a much easier and rewarding hike to therapy site, where we avoided the worst of the storms and were able to stay in the sunshine for most of the day. The newer members of the group are progressing in skill in the art of making efficient packs and have made significant strides on hikes. At therapy site, there was time for lots of skills, including pos bags, spoons, vests, backpacks, and more. Time was also spent playing multiple group games and cooking elaborate meals in addition to personal time and showers.

The week closed with another amazing trail name ceremony lead by Radiant Chipmunk to honor Mindful Sparrow. Overall, it was a fantastic week for the Uluru as they supported each other to overcome any challenge that came their way with laughter and learning. 

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COVID-19 Update

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.