Wilderness Weekly 6.25.21

Photo Credit: Greg Burnham

Goannas:  The Goannas started the week off with a goodbye ceremony for elder group members. They set the intention and goal of discovering ways in which they can better support one another throughout their week. They did amazingly during the expedition portion of the week, complete with one day hike where we found willow and cottonwood. The students collected different pieces for various projects they were working on, such as fire bending to make a U-frame and new bows and spindles for their busting sets. Altogether, the Goannas had a successful week, ending with a beautiful ceremony to honor a student with the Journey Keeper token, another student with the challenge token of Seeker, and finally, a staff member received the Peace Walker token, highlighting strong attributes the group saw in each individual.

Brumbies: Brumbies had a week filled to the brim with fun and games. We played every game from camouflage, capture the flag, Mr nalgene, and more! Our Brumbies dove head first into creating their own musical doo-wop group as many missed the sweet sounds of music in the digital world. As a group we worked on growing our skills and experiences in busting and managed to create a much more intentional busting hour. During the hike this week Brumbies embodied positivity, teamwork, and community as they could be heard belting out an uplifting chant many began to use this week when asked how they were feeling. They would say they “felt good, oh so good uh, double uh uh, triple woo woo woo”! This became an edifying chorus amongst the group as they persevered throughout the week.

Cassowaries: This week, the Cassowaries received their group name. With that, new pillars were established in the group including value, loyalty, acceptance and courage. We saw beautiful blue skies, sweated a bit and experienced remarkable sunsets full of blue, purple, pink and orange colors almost every day. In the evenings, we were led on our hikes by the moonlight while we identified the big dipper constellation in the sky and told jokes with one another. This week we honored several different students with the Giver token, the Brightness token and a trail name, Wild Lightning. It was great this week to experience the development of the Cassowary group with so many different talents and skills that all of the students bring to the table.

Lorikeets: This week on expedition, the Lorikeets were able to experience some beautiful night hikes under the stars and explored a canyon on a day hike. We also observed pink, orange, and purple sunsets that filled the whole sky as the sun set over the mountains. In the Lorikeets we learned what it meant to work as a team and what it means to give each other thoughtful constructive feedback. We played games of one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish and the students even made their own version of the board game clue out of clay. Many emotions were shared by the students and students also felt heard by one another. This process of feeling seen and heard provided a pathway for the group to have some great and productive conversations. The Lorikeets continue to explore, learn, and understand the importance of creating and maintaining a group culture centering a high sense of belonging. One student received the Winged Heart token, and another received a Strong Cord.The students also honored the group dog Moki with the Brightness token.

Ulurus: It was a magical week with the Ulurus during the expedition days this week as we were gifted with some enjoyable and beautiful hikes under the stars. We had the opportunity to not only say goodbye to an Uluru moving on, but we had the chance to welcome a new student to the group. The group did great at hiking together and walking the wild west desert as a team. There was a lot of reaching out done by various older members of the group to mentor newer students that have joined the Ulurus. We had multiple gatherings this week focusing on our fears, how we view ourselves and personal goals we can set as individuals to further help the group to grow, each of these gatherings lead to discussions and shares that really showed a desire, and vision for individual growth.


PEAK WEEK – Adventure Therapy @ outBACK

Students enjoyed a challenging and rewarding peak week. At the beginning of the week, the students were excited and nervous to meet one another and for the adventures ahead. On the first day the group worked together to create a collaborative playlist with classics like Elton John and Michael Jackson, and sang throughout the entire car ride to Price, Utah. The group was excited to have a break from the heat of the West Desert in Price and to be near water, enjoying a sunset hike around the Huntington reservoir and playing games by the water’s edge. That evening, the group participated in a gathering about honesty and self perception. Each student was able to contribute in a meaningful and insightful manner, holding a powerful intentional space for one another to share. On the second day the group hiked through Gordon Creek Falls and enjoyed the striking canyon and lush greenery, taking a break to play games and honor a student with the Strong Cord token. The group travelled North to Cedar Canyon the following day, and spent the evening exploring the different environment and cooler temperature, with a particular interest in the slackline. The students were excited and motivated to push themselves physically and try out their balance on the slackline, each of them eventually progressing to taking a few steps on their own without assistance from staff. That night the group honored a member with the Brightness token and participated in a powerful gathering about internalizing and self forgiveness. The next day, the group tackled outdoor climbing for the first time. The students were attentive and excited throughout ground school and were motivated to start climbing. Despite the emotional and physical challenges of climbing, each of the students was able to push themselves and try every climb, each of them eventually reaching the top. That night, the group held a gathering about the parallels between climbing and life. Every student was able to make powerful connections between their fears on the wall and their struggles in their lives outside of outBACK. On the second day of climbing, the group put their observations to action, pushing themselves to try harder climbs and again, each of them were able to reach the top of every climb they tried. On the final day of peak, the group hiked through the Meadow Lava Tubes and participated in an impactful gathering on presentation and understanding of the self. Overall, the students enjoyed a peak week full of growth, challenge, acceptance, and fun, before returning to their groups.


Boomerang: The Boomerang experience began with a ceremony honoring the journey of the student, with reflections on the significance of a cairn as a mark of direction. The student reflected on the various choices made and the lived experiences that led to where he is in life today. All of this set the tone for this intentional therapeutic solo expedition with the outBACK guides. The student dove into therapeutic assignments that were given to him by his primary therapist and reflected on choice and impact with the guides. He practiced receiving feedback and incorporating it into his future relationships. This time of focus was centered around skills that fostered further reflection, understanding what it means to hold ourselves accountable, and documenting the collection of stories we all have within ourselves. This boomerang experience also provided an opportunity for a deep dive into identity through a powerful initiative where a student creates a mask with symbols for the components of what makes up who they are. We closed out the booomerang with another ceremony where a challenge token was offered to the student to encourage him in his work of rebuilding the bridge back to self as well as with others.


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