Dingoes: The Dingoes had a week full ups and downs with challenging hikes and group conflict resolution. On their last expedition day, they pushed through a double hike, uphill, late into the evening. All group members pushed themselves to make it to a beautiful site at the base of Black Crook Mountain with the hopes of peaking the next day. The weather, unfortunately, was not in our favor so we opted for activities around the site. Three students were given their trail names; Energetic Lightning, Noble Oak and Steady Sequoia. Additionally the seeker, brightness, openness, winged heart and making amends tokens were given out to some of the members of the group.
Gnowees: The Gnowees split into two small groups this week. As with change, the transition was difficult at first. The Gnowees, however, soon realized the many benefits of having a small group. Each of the Gnowee community groups gave way for students to build stronger friendships as they were able to connect on a deeper level this week. The week was filled with laughs during games, solid hikes and even a ceremony to honor a fire pit which provided warmth when the group experienced a cold rainy morning. One Gnowee received the Truth Speaker token and another received Brightness. All students are continuing to grow both individually and as a group.
Goannas: The Goannas had another adventure filled week. The Goannas had one hard hike over a saddle and into a mountain pass and two fairly easy hikes that could felt more like two enjoyable strolls through the country. The students enjoyed night hiking, peaking a knoll, and even had the chance to see a fighter jet fly over.
We had some new students join the group this week. Every student’s first week is typically one that brings the challenge of transitions. Thankfully, the strong community and empathy that the Goannas have created in their culture made the transition into desert life much easier for these young men. The emotional safety experienced in this group is very real.
The Goannas said their goodbyes to a senior member who was ready to close the chapter of their outBACK journey this week. The group created a sacred space for a sacred ceremony and gave advice on how to make the shift into the next adventure of their life. Our group senior was grateful and finished out the program strong on Peak week.
Ulurus: It was an eventful week for Ulurus. The week began with the eldest member, Inquisitive Mountain Goat, saying goodbye to the group as he set off for peak week. The group held a goodbye ceremony for him and wished him luck on his next adventure.
The group made most out of their daylight hours by making busting sets and hacky-sacks. They also utilized the time to practice mindfulness as they slowed things down with creative crafting in the desert. This allowed the group to wait for the temperature to drop low enough to move through their expedition days with their hikes. We were fortunate enough to take pause under starlight to hold gatherings that focused on family. Members shared letters from parents to the group and took accountability for patterns of behavior back at home. The week wrapped up with a day hike to the top of a knoll and another goodbye gathering.
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This week in First Camp was characterized by lots of games and intentional time spent together! With a group of rotating members, the group was able to focus on completing important tasks crucial to the program. The students all worked hard and were engaged in every activity at hand. Throughout the week, the group got to go on some beautiful day hikes and take in the scenery. We enjoyed some great weather that allowed for a wonderful introduction of the desert to our students. The group played lots of fun games as well, and laughed a lot.