Dingoes: This week’s hiking itinerary gave way for the Dingoes to have several ceremonies and student led gatherings. We honored 5 dingoes with tokens and a trail name for a special dingo, “Illuminating Dream”. The morale was very high with the Dingoes this week. It was a gift given how it is always with mixed emotions that group members share their goodbyes to fellow dingoes who are leaving. They will be missed as they have forever placed an imprint in our hearts. Students continue to bond through vulnerable conversations and one on one emotional check-ins. Busting culture in the group is evolving within the group as the students made a new rotation for fire responsibilities. Now each individual in the group is spending an hour or more a week working on their sets and having spindle to board action. They are becoming quite good fire makers and teachers through their new busting culture. We welcomed a Dingo out of First Camp into Main and explored expectations and goals that each group member has for one another.
Gnowees: The Gnowees enjoyed their hikes this week. One of them was a challenging cross-country hike that took a lot of willpower and persistence to complete and the “fun” came from the acknowledgement of having made it! We also opted to sleep in and have a morning meditation of stretching the following day. Two Gnowees were gone from the group for the week as they participated in Peak Week. When they returned, the group was very excited to welcome them back. In preparation of honoring those who were preparing to transition onto their next adventure, a ceremony was held where members received custom made tokens from their peers. We were also able to celebrate with a sunset ceremony on the foothills of Red Pine peak. The Gnowees worked very hard at busting this week, and a lot of the girls completed or improved their busting sets to make it easier to get a coal. The Gnowees worked hard on their Ngarnas (academic workbooks) throughout the week, and they are making great progress at completing the material and reflecting on their Outback experience.
The Gnowees were able to make use of a “handcart” to help pull their backpacks when needed this week. Although they enjoyed the novelty of the cart at first, the group soon realized it was still hard work and took a lot of teamwork to keep it moving. Humor was key as the Gnowees pulled together as a crew. They made up “pony” names like Sprinkles, Sparkles, Rainbow Dash, and Rainbow Smash as they joked about being horses pulling the cart. A highlight of the week was using an astronomy laser pointer to find constellations and reading stories about the summer constellations of Scorpius, Delphinius, Cygnus, and the Summer Triangle, not to mention the amazing Perseides meteor shower.
Goannas: This week the Goannas powered through all of their hikes and there is no other way to do that besides working as a team. The boys honored three of their peers this week with two trail names, “Wild Honey badger” and “Genuine Sun” and one token, “Giver”. We enjoyed and reset with a yoga class Saturday morning lead by one of our field guides and journeyed through multiple guided meditations. We also played with spirit animal tarot cards and walked to a creek where we put our feet in the water! This week in gatherings we covered: perspective, solitude, and connectivity. We also merged with another group this week, adding more Goannas members to the crew. The boys were excited to meet their new “brothers” with whom they will experience the desert. We slept under the incredible stars and constellations one night and woke up to the view of being surrounded by nature; a great start to the day! Finally, we made sure to make time for games such as “mafia” and “monster of the week.”
Brumbies: At the beginning of the week, the group focused on navigating anxiety surrounding hiking as well as working on busting and skills. Mentors were able to help those in first camp with backpacks and others worked on fire sets and spoons. The Brumbies held a goodbye gathering for a fellow Brumby to honor him with hand carved spoons and reflected on the influence he had within the Brumbies Community. At the end of the ceremony, two Brumbies were honored by this individual with the Brightness and Strong Cord tokens. The Brumbies additionally carved a hand-made token out of mahogany in the shape of a heart to celebrate a staff member’s birthday. Gatherings were focused on helping the students build resilience, focus on family dynamics, and check in on emotions within the group. During the middle of the week, a Trail Naming ceremony was held and a Brumby was honored with the name Fiery Velvet Ant. Towards the end of the week, they navigated an evening hike that brought them to their therapy site. At this site, the Brumbies held another gathering to honor a fellow group member. The week closed with another evening hike and cooler temps to start the next week.
Peak Week – Adventure Therapy @ outBACK
This week on Peak was a blast! The week was full of games, laughs, music, delicious food and many meaningful ceremonies and gatherings. The group got to enjoy a petting zoo on our way down to St. George where we hiked, rock climbed, and hung out at the beach. Everyone in our group tried their hand at climbing and all seemed to enjoy it thoroughly. We were most impressed this week with how open and vulnerable all the students got with one another and staff during gatherings. For this, and many other reasons, we decided to honor each of the students with a midnight token ceremony on the beach where each student received the True Speaker token. Overall, all group members including staff, learned something about themselves this week. In the end we were all sad to say goodbye to each other but also very glad we were able to spend an amazing, fun, and challenging week together.