The Goannas started their week gaining a new friend and losing their two main leaders, Collected Elk and Intentional Supernova, to the adventures waiting on peak and two more to expand their insight and growth on the next steps of their journey.
While the emotional and logistical leader moved on, it left two younger goannas Admiral Mustang and Spirited Panther, to lead the group on hikes, getting camp setup, trail skills, and games. All through tough weather and bright sunshine along with welcoming two more students to the group. They were eager to learn the outback ways and to look forward to new lifestyles. A few were even able to craft their “A” frames for a more secure pack while hiking and progressing through the first camp.
All the students were enthusiastic about carving spoons, working through ngarrnas, D.O.G.S. (an intense game of hacky sack) and respecting each other’s emotional vulnerability and boundaries. There was massive growth for the pre-existing Goannas, both of which received tokens. Admiral Mustang being honored with a strong cord and Spirited Panther with vital fire. They also studied the science of give, take and shape. Spirited Panther led a ceremony about this– the students were able to recognize how poor choices shaped their personas, took away possible paths of enlightenment and gave them temporary pleasure. The Goannas ended their week joining back with the comrades from peak to reunite in a token and trail naming ceremony.
The Pindari had a week full of mountains and music! We started off the week with a guest guitar that three students absolutely shredded for the group. The week was packed full of freestyle rapping and drum circles as well. We said goodbye to Sheisty Silverback, a core member of the group, with a fun and touching goodbye ceremony on Wednesday evening. After some good grub on Thursday morning, one student read Anatomy of Peace by the fire while others worked on skills, Ngarnas, and took naps (for those caught up on work.) One student practiced busting and busted their first coal on Friday, a huge milestone! We woke up early to climb Black Crook Mountain on Saturday, which was a powerful, challenging, and fun experience for every student. While our newest addition struggled with the heights and elevation, one student made an effort to stay back and coach him through it so we could all make it to the top as a team. On top of the mountain, students were enthralled with pushing boulders off the side and watching them fall as well as reading and contributing to a time capsule left by past students! Once everyone had explored, staff led a powerful meditation about emotions and acceptance, which multiple students expressed that they found to be moving.
Coming down the mountain there was a conflict in the group in which two students became upset and used their emotional intelligence to work through it and eventually have a productive conversion. Many students displayed this emotional competence throughout the week, as well as working together as a group to overcome conflict. Gnarly Nomad and another student led a gathering that night where the whole group was receptive and engaged. Throughout the week, two other students led gatherings where they shared their placement letters and were open and vulnerable with the group. They in turn, respected that space and vulnerability.
On Tuesday Zen Orangutan returned from his “Peak Expedition” week and jumped into the group by setting up a trail name ceremony, where Relentless Lobster got his trail name! Overall the group worked together as a team beautifully, while simultaneously having multiple breakthroughs individually.
The Uluru parted ways with some of their Elders, Luminescent Sapphire and Loving Owl. The group shared memories and first and last impressions of each student and staff. Tokens of Letting go, Openness, and some kind words were shared within a five foot Nest adorned with hanging flowers representing the nurturing qualities that both students brought during their time at outBACK. Students and staff were encouraged to be mindful of the strengths and weaknesses they bring in their relationships and to the group.
During the week, the Uluru, set off on three pack hikes and one day hike, one with a breathtaking view and a full rainbow! Joyous Monkey and Mindful Raven lead gatherings on values and Persistence. Majestic Sunrise and Joyous Monkey led new students on group culture and how to take care of camp, pack up, and how to make the most of their experience at outBACK.
The students spent a lot of the days playing a lot of the hacky-sack game “dogs”, and also spent a lot of time playing call of Cthulhu, a game which is an RPG one of our students created. We also had quite a few nature sightings including jack rabbits, scorpions, and even a bird that seemed to mimic some noises it heard around camp.
Students took interest in learning how to beatbox and play guitar. New spoons were carved, one student worked on their “A” Frame pack while another completed their keepers pouch. Joyous Monkey diligently worked on testing. The Uluru delighted in sharing the secrets of their outBACK cuisine with everyone around!
This week, we were joined by at least one member from each group. This created a super fun dynamic and the group did a great job being able to form new productive relationships. This was facilitated through lots of morning meditations including frisbee, finding and discussing indigenous pictographs, and lots of questions while we were stretching. On our journey we headed south to St. George where we were able to experience beautiful weather and views. We also reintroduced old coping skills such as music, some new food and new activities.
For our first adventure of peak we explored Red Reef Canyon; we traveled as far as we could until the flowing water became too much of an obstacle to overcome. In a natural amphitheater we took some time to reflect on our journey at outBACK and discussed the hardship of having to turn around and how that relates to real life. Spending a day teaching climbing/belay at chuckwalla was such a delight. The next day we were able to apply those skills and climbed at Prophecy which had a few more challenging climbs. All students crushed climbing and made it up at least one wall and belayed another student. At the end of our climbing section we took some time to discuss the importance of trust in climbing and how we are able to take that just in others and be able to apply it to our future. We also discussed the ideas of trying new, healthy activities. Our final journey was a beautiful hike through Snow Canyon where we were able to honor each student for completing peak week with the peak patch. This led to a discussion around the idea of reentering the group as a leader and how we can support new students like others had helped us on ours.