Wilderness Weekly 8.11.22

Photo Credit: Trevor Allen


The Goannas had an eventful week with new hellos and hard goodbyes. The two beloved students who left were Giga Cuttlefish and Goofy Goose. The Goannas held a beautiful send off ceremony where they also honored a staff member with the Goanna token. After the students were sent off, the new seniors were eager to lead the group. 

Another ceremony was held to surprise one of our students with a trail name only hours before his Parent visit. The ceremony began as the sun came up. The Goannas woke up early to set up the ceremony and waited for the student to be led by a staff member to the group. We are happy to name him now as Selfless Wolf.

The first campsite of the week had a spring, causing a mud mask spa day during the hottest part of the day. This is a new trend with the Goannas as later in the week we hiked to a stream and did another spa day.

As always the Goannas were excited to hike, they hiked a total of 5 miles. Our newest Goanna did very well on the hike and all other students were impressed. With the new site came another ceremony for peacekeeping panda, he received the journey keeper token. This represents his stay coming to an end causing reflection on his growth through outback. The next token was considered a challenge token of Winged Heart for Solid Rock. At the beginning of the week he received hard news, so the students decided to challenge him in finding peace for himself during this time. During the same ceremony a staff member was honored with her trail name of Blossoming Sunflower.

Many things were cause for celebration this week including Solid Rock’s birthday. The Goanna was given a spoon and new braids in his hair. Overall the Goannas had a good week celebrating their outBACK family and welcoming a new member with open and loving arms.


What a week in the Pindari! This week was fun filled with new games, open hearts, and the supportive camaraderie of the Pindari. Highlights included a busting bracket led by staff member Brotherly Moose, who put his quiver set on the line for the winner. Cunning Largemouth Bass, resident expert buster, blew their coal into flames just seconds before Adventurous Northern Florida Git Lizard in the closest face-off of the competition. Cunning Largemouth Bass beat Brotherly Moose to flame, to face the finals against a duo– Sturdy Stallion and Platinum Lover. Was it fair for Platinum Lover to bust the coal and pass it to Sturdy Stallion to blow into flames? The jury’s still out, but the two graciously gifted Brotherly Moose back his quiver. Brotherly Moose is still hurting from this loss and claims he’ll be back to beat them all…Things also got competitive with games of Coup, where bluffing and tactic on the students’ part got staff out first almost every round. We had some silly times playing Salad Bowl as well, a variation on charades where you recycle the slips of paper through three rounds: describing without using the word, acting, and using one word. Sturdy Stallion and Cunning Largemouth Bass almost had the victory until their plan to use the number “7,495,201” as one of their slips of paper backfired with Sturdy Stallion forgetting the number and Cunning Largemouth Bass having to come up with some complicated math equations as a clue. The amount of games, silly conversations, and laughs this week kept our hearts light and time moving forward out in the desert.

In addition to the fun and games the Pindari had some beautiful gatherings in which they were vulnerable and open with each other. For example we discussed the masks we might wear to come off to others versus who we really are and what it means to be a part of and contribute to a community (here in the desert and at home or in our future homes). The students were incredibly open and supportive of a newer student sharing their placement letter and initiated a ceremony circle to honor a staff member with the brightness token and name her Quirky Northern Colorado River Snail, and honored Platinum Lover with the Giver token for their continuous generosity of spirit, emotional support, and help. The week ended with a goodbye ceremony for Platinum Lover, who has been a true leader and role model for the Pindari. We had a wonderful week!


Our wild Brumbies truly lived up to the name this week as they trotted off the beaten paths of the West Desert to cross country under the stars. Guided by moonlight, the Brumbies were on top of their game crushing mile after mile and left the previous campsite in the dust as they set off to their next adventure. One of our sites contained a beautiful stream surrounded by willow, tall sage, crayfish, and other wildlife not normally seen in the desert.

The Brumbies day hiked and spent a good amount of time here–collecting materials for fire sets and other crafts, as well as relaxing by the cool water. When it came to setting up and taking down camp it was all the same as they completed everything in a flash. It was not a week devoid of excitement either as Tenacious Horizon was honored with the Openness token for exhibiting fierce vulnerability and inspiring the same in each member of the group. Electric Aspen also left a staff member with one last gift before bidding us adieu – a trail neigh-ming ceremony! It was a moment filled with a lot of laughter and some flatulence, the one truly authentic Brumbie tradition that will stand the test of time. Radical Swordfish led a gathering on setting a 5-year plan and shared their own dreams of owning a boating business- which we know they’ll more than succeed in if they use even half of the vigor they put into their leather work and busting. We also held a gathering on adversity and the students were really willing to dig deep and talk about the tough things they face both in and out of the desert. We have no doubt our Brumbies will continue to gallop into the sunsets of their bright, bright futures with (reasonable) reckless abandon and confidence.


The Uluru had an epic week characterized by camaraderie, resilience, compassion, friendship, and therapeutic growth. The Uluru placed a heavy emphasis on continuing to develop their group culture and going as far to redefine an acronym for the Uluru! The new acronym is as follows:

Understanding, Loyalty, Unique, Respect, United

On Thursday the Uluru hosted a heartfelt goodbye ceremony for the longstanding member Courageous Hyena who was nearing the end of his stay. While it was certainly bittersweet to say goodbye to such a beloved member of the Uluru, the group was certainly happy to bear witness to  growth and fortitude as he went through the program. Courageous Hyena emphasized the importance of leaving legacy behind, and he will certainly be dearly missed within the group. 

The Uluru started the week with a heartfelt naming ceremony for one of the members. In an effort to honor this member’s patience, wisdom, and resilience, the group awarded him with the name Grounded Aspen. As the week progressed the Uluru absolutely crushed each of their four hikes. The hikes were full of laughter, songs, wildlife, mountain views, and a genuine sense of companionship. As the week progressed the Uluru were able to utilize positive communication skills and effective coping strategies to support one another through periods of adversity. While there were instances where tensions were running high in the group, the Uluru consistently showed the ability to rally together and utilize problem-solving skills to further strengthen their bond as a group.

Towards the end of the week, the Uluru chose to honor another long standing member of the Uluru by giving him his trail name. In an attempt to capture his passion, energy, love and loyalty the group awarded him the name Vigorous Honey Badger. The group enjoyed a moment of silence and thoughtfulness before leaving the ceremony with a renewed warmth towards each other. The students also honored a staff member with their trail name: Caring Phoenix.

Overall the Ulurus made this a fantastic week! It was an honor and privilege to witness their fantastic growth and we can see the lasting impact they are having on not only themselves, but on each other. We can’t wait to staff with them again.


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