Wilderness Weekly 8.20.21

Wilderness Therapy Program for Teens | Outback Therapeutic Expeditions


The Goannas really rocked it this week! We had some serious creativity going on in the meal preps. With some small changes in the food provided, the excitement was ramped up in a lot of the students to come up with new recipes. We were also given the opportunity to use a giant bow drill set to allow the group to focus on strengthening community and teamwork. It essentially works the same as a normal busting set yet requires the involvement of ALL group members to get it to work. It was truly a fun experience for the Goannas. We continued the use of a handcart during the expedition portion of our week to further build group unity and help the students exercise their communication skills when working together. We were able to fit in an intentional mini peak evening hike on one of the days this week to change the pace and further discuss each students’ vision statements they had been working on. The group held a sacred ceremony where they honored each other and staff with tokens, acknowledging the strengths and growth they have seen in each other. One of the students, Fiery Hawk, made a hacky sack this week so we played a lot of games with that which brought some fun smiles and laughter into the group atmosphere.


The Cassowaries’ week started off with some challenges. They faced a 4+ mile hike and really stuck with it and supported each other throughout it. Although the group experienced a couple of days of a lack of success with busting, which impacted their level of energy and engagement for short period of time, the Cassowaries never let up and was able to transition into a place where EVERY SINGLE PERSON was able to bust a coal! They all turned the week into an inspiring, productive and amazing one.They focused heavily on honoring themselves and others.The students honored a fellow Cassowary with a trail name of Spirited Crystal as well as two staff with trail names. The students also honored each other with tokens to acknowledge the various characteristics they embody. Spirited Crystal was honored with winged heart, Brave Ram and Steadfast Cliffside were honored with brightness, and Fiery Avalanche received vital fire. The group is composed of strong hikers and we were able to make it to the petroglyphs on the way to one of the campsites. The students loved making their way to see the markings and the bones of deceased cows found in the area. They used their voices and some played ukulele to help wake each other up in the morning and to lift spirits on hikes. One student made her backpack and keepers pouch and finished what she needed to complete first camp. She tandem busted a coal and is so excited to continue busting more. Brave Ram got her first solo coal to flame and Steadfast Cliff got her first tandem coal! Spirited Crystal made a pos and a bull roar and was ecstatic to find out she would be having a parent visit soon. A newer member of the group and Fiery Avalanche did headstands with staff and the whole group was tremendously positive and supportive. We had an amazing week!


This week for the Lorikeets was one for the books as each student participated in the outBACK Summer Olympics 2021. Each day, a variety of events were held that highlighted the physical and creative strengths of each person. These events included the rock shot put throw, the random trivia challenge, and the weight lifting competition using the water jugs as our weights. Besides showing determination throughout the outBACK Olympic events, the Keets pushed through challenges during the expedition portion of the week. As an incredible treat after such accomplishments, we had the amazing opportunity to sleep under the stars and watched the meteor showers that occurred both Wednesday and Thursday night this week. Intentional time was given to reading the Anatomy of Peace as a group and time was given to discussing the thoughts and impressions of the underlying messages of the book. We also held many ceremonies to honor some members of the group with tokens and a trail name.


The Brumbies had a vibrant week as they made their way from the Kegs crossing over to the Simpsons mountain range. Every day was filled with a new adventure and the group members were excited when skills time came around. The group exploded with creativity as students made possibility bags, quiver kits, stuff sacks, spoons and much more. The busting culture was in full swing as students worked diligently on their busting sets and spent the full hour busting with integrity. Hiking was a transformative experience as the students pushed through as their emotional battles came up to the surface. Overall, the week presented itself with learning moments that challenged students to identify what they needed to continue working on and working through. 


The Ulurus had a very great but challenging week with many exciting contributing factors! We started off the week by welcoming two sets of parents to the beautiful, sandy Oasis. The students were also able to open their arms and welcome a new student to the group. This week we had very rewarding hikes that lead us to the Simpson Mountains and Jud Canyon. Those hikes allowed us to have incredible growth opportunities in conflict resolution and goal setting with positivity in the midst of trials. Our conflict resolution skills grew even more as the students worked together to come up with compromises to get the things done with a great attitude. The group worked diligently on skills and created so many things this week. The latter portion of our week included the return of group members who completed their peak adventure week as well as those who returned from their family expeditions. We were also able to hold beautiful ceremonies for trail names and tokens. Students were able to be honored with the making amends, vital fire,tstrong cord, and giver tokens.

Once the Peak Crew completed setting personal goals for the upcoming week, we packed up and set out on our journey to Cedar Canyon where we made our way up the beautiful Dixie National Forest. Upon arrival, we set up camp, put up a slackline, tossed around a football, made dinner and prepared for our an evening discussion. This particular gathering focused on family, boundaries, and personally analyzing our own patterns and behaviors. The insights that surfaced from the discussion were great primers for what laid ahead of us for our climbing progression. We made our way to a place called “The Grave Side Crag” where we all spent the day rock climbing and for some of us, overcoming our fear of heights. Some of the students struggled initially but the group helped motivate everyone to push their comfort zones and feel successful. At the end of the day we reflected on how our rock climbing experience as technical, scary, and challenging as it was can be directly related to our life circumstances and what that looked like for each individual. 

We were also able to experience a breathtaking hike called “Ashdown Gorge” with a beautiful flowing river and deep canyon wall overhangs. The group spent some time working together to accomplish some challenging team building activities and even were able to successfully build a small dam. Along the hike we played in the water, had lunch together, and a few of us even made mud masks. As the adventures continued we made our way to another awesome place to rock climb called “The bowling alley” where we spent our next day of our rock climbing progression. This time, however, everyone was feeling more confident and ready to reach the top with more ease. The week also gave way for the peak crew to spend a couple of hours exploring lava fields, craters, tubes, and caves, all of which culminated into a moving gathering held in the darkness of one of the caves where we shared stories and talked about gratitude and the fears of the unknown. Before we came to the close of our peak adventure week, the group held a ceremony to honor both a student and a staff with their trail names; Charismatic Constellations and Insightful Horizons. We also held a final goodbye ceremony and each student returned to their respective groups here at outBACK.

Read Past "Wilderness Weekly" Posts

Wilderness Weekly 3.31.23

Goannas: This week at outBACK the Goannas experienced some rough weather conditions, only to shatter its attempts and persevere through challenges. Lunar Eclipse led a

Read More »


More Posts

Or fill out the form below and we’ll contact you shortly.