Wilderness Weekly 7.16.21


The Brumbies started off the week being given a challenge by their primary therapist to enhance their fire-making skills. The Brumbies did a fantastic job supporting one another and using leadership skills to assist each other in busting coals (making a fire with bow-drill set). The Brumbies chose to hold a token ceremony for two of the staff members on shift and several of the students began preparing their shelters and equipment for their parent visits. The Brumbies had fun by making camp chores into games throughout the week. The Brumbies had an adventurous week and welcomed new members into the group!


The Cassowaries were able to push through some challenges this week such as a tough cross country hike, and they were able to support each other every step of the way. The group honored each other with tokens through a ceremony, and one of the students received their trail name. The group had fun laughing and playing in front of some beautiful sunsets, and had some very intentional conversations with each other at gatherings. During skills time, some members of the group worked on their pos bags and were able to get really creative! The students also busted coals with integrity and were motivated to start a fire for the group. One of the group’s favorite activities this week was making necklaces and bracelets out of beads and tokens. It was a successful week full of growth for each individual member!


The Ulurus took time this week to work on group dynamics and resolving interpersonal conflict. Gathering themes explored this week included accountability and change; challenging the Ulurus to manage emotions during challenging activities, ultimately bringing the group together into a more cohesive unit. Our adventures this week included a peak hike, working as a group to retrieve gear that was left behind, and re-igniting our bow-drill busting culture. To end the week, students honored each other with tokens, and held a farewell ceremony for a senior member.


The Goannas had an awesome week hiking approximately 10 miles in 48 hours from the base of the Simpson Mountain range to the base of Kegg Mountain; stopping in the middle at the “Oasis” for rest and games. At Kegg Mountain, we enjoyed the amazing view while working on skills, group unification, and personal and group development. A lot of progress was made in these areas. We had one student away on peak week (a week of adventure therapy), while another got the news for his upcoming peak week which was exciting for the whole group. We had to beat the heat some days and kick back at our PT’s and as some cooler weather rolled in, we spent time making delicious food and playing fun games like Dogs, Finger Jousting, and Rope Jousting. We had a lot of student-led activities and gatherings which focused on bringing the group together as one cohesive unit, and the students got to know each other a little better each day.


The Lorikeets had a great week full of creative crafts being made. One Lorikeet made a new possibilities bag decorated with stars and hearts, that they were very proud of. The other Lorikeets carved beautiful wooden rings, made snake and lizard spoons, and lots of other fun wooden projects. The days were filled with laughter as everyone presented their masterpieces. They had a bittersweet goodbye ceremony, when they said farewell to one member who was moving on to the next journey of their life. The ceremony was filled with shared memories and experiences with one another, and concluded with a talent show. Another Keet was presented with the Making Amends token during a ceremony on a small rock cliff in front of beautiful scenery. Overall the Keets really bonded this shift and created wonderful art and memories.


This week the Pindaris greatly improved their communication skills and grew closer as a group. They tackled challenging hikes while singing and telling stories. They told jokes during the good moments and supported each other when someone was feeling down. The group improved on their primitive skills and grew closer to self-sufficiency in the field. They even had the opportunity to make drums out of rawhide which was a big hit. Overall, this week was a positive one full of emotional growth and comradery.

Peak week started off with a reflection on their time at Outback and their own journey on foot through the desert. The students each set personal therapeutic goals for the week, where they each pushed themselves to work on better communication, advocating for their own needs, respecting others, and working through the pressures behind food. A road trip the next morning brought them to southern Utah where they were able to camp near 10,000 ft up Cedar Canyon and escape the desert heat. The break from the heat and the opportunity to step away from their original groups allowed them to dive deeper into their own journey and start exploring their own fears, concerns, and frustrations in a new environment in a new group. The students spent the first night learning how to walk across a slackline and discussing what it means to remain focused on a goal. The students also tested their nerves on the rock wall where they first learned the mechanics of belaying a climbing partner.

Climbing to a height of appx 60 ft, students were put in a position where they had to trust their climbing partners and overcome mental and physical hurdles. Every student was able to reach the top and tag the anchor. While some of the students thrived, others were faced with the struggles of working through their fear of heights and trusting others with their own safety. At the end of the day, the lessons learned from climbing took on its own unique flavor as they brought to the surface, their experiences with social dynamics of climbing, trust, confidence, and/or physical difficulties. On Friday the students were led on a hike through Ashdown gorge. While the hike was challenging and long in length, they persevered to reach an arch that hung high on the canyon walls. The group completed the week with a ceremony held in the tabernacle lava tubes. They were honored for what they had accomplished so far at outBACK and challenged to continue their growth as their outBACK journey nears its end.

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