The Goanas had a wonderful week rebuilding group unity and the pillars for which the group stands. The pillars that were chosen by the group are communication, accountability, respect, empathy, and support with the acronym of CARES to help the students remember them. This week we had the fantastic opportunity of hiking with a handcart to carry gear, allowing the students to work together in unity and work on communication skills with one another throughout the hikes. We also were able to peak a mountain this week; the highest point in the Keg mountain range. This was a long day hike and a really big accomplishment for the group! Two trail names were given out this week, one to a staff and one to a student. The group chose Insightful Owl and Unstoppable Mountain Goat. Every person in the group was honored with a token this week which really showed the work each student put in and the growing respect each member has for one another. These different types of tokens that were presented included peacewalker, solid ground, strong cord, truth speaker, vital fire, and openness! With all that transpired this week, through strong communication and teamwork, all the Goannas expressed how this was one of their best weeks at outBACK.
The Lorikeets had an awesome week with a lot of different ceremonies that took place. One Keet received the trail name of Vivacious Neptune and also received a brightness token to honor their positive and encouraging insights and contributions. Spirited Wildflower received a making amends token from Wild Lightning. The students honored two staff with tokens and one with a trail name. The Keets were powerful hikers this week who hiked over 8 miles during the expedition portion of the week. They even did a day hike where they peaked a knoll and found a time capsule from previous outBACK students! It was a blast taking turns reading other students’ notes and drawing and writing our own to add. Resilient Willow won a headstand competition and finished two of their Ngarnas. Spirited Wildflower shared her voice in ukulele time throughout the week. The whole group played tons of games and each youth taught a different version of down by the banks! Another fellow Keet finished all her first camp assignments and was able to also successfully bust and blow it into flames! We also had one of our newer members get super excited about making her spoon and is about to complete all of her first camp assignment as well. We cannot forget a special shout out to a Lorikeet who made their backpack and showcased what a super strong hiker they are! Peaceful Embers did amazing at bonding in the group and advocating for needs and Wild Lightning continues to be a maker who expresses themselves through crafts and helped a newer member with busting; a new member who made the coolest puwaka! So many amazing people with incredible talents and gifts are gathered in this group and we are extremely lucky to bear witness to their creativity and productivity!
The Brumbies had a beautiful week full of creativity, adventure, and productivity. Each day began with a morning meditation which set the day up for achieving personal growth. The group held each other accountable for finishing therapy assignments by holding Ngarna parties. Students busted with integrity and worked together to teach newer members to blow into flames. The Brumbies participated in gatherings that covered topics on perspective and resilience. A beloved member of the group parted ways halfway through the week. Two members received their trail names, Inquisitive White Panda and Persevering Black Panther. Two members were honored with tokens; letting go and journey keeper. The group also honored their primary therapist with the truth speaker token. The Brumbies are on the road to becoming self-sufficient as a group. The students were motivated to work on hard skills and fostering safe spaces in which group members can be vulnerable.
The Cassowaries continued their journey through the desert this week with lots of singing, rapping, dancing, and games. We had two hikes under the moonless night sky and watched tons of shooting stars race across the sky. We also had the challenge and blessing of some rainstorms with some thunder. We learned some lessons about preparedness and what can happen when we do not fully take on the necessary precautions when the drizzle starts. By the end of the week we had our rain procedures down and played games in the sand and pouring rain for a “beach day”. Steadfast Cliffside was honored with their trail name this week, and one of our newer students received the seeker token for their willingness to learn and see the best in difficult situations. We had a great week learning from each other, working hard and playing harder.
This week in the Ulurus the group started off their week welcoming a new student. Everyone got to take the time introducing themselves, sharing their goals/struggles for the week and how we can all best support one another. Together we accomplished several hikes using topographical maps and coordinates to find and locate our next camping spots during our expedition. We were able to experience cross country hiking on various terrains while navigating different hills, washes, valleys, and small trails. Throughout our journey this week the group worked hard on their fire making skills and their gear used to make fire, such as their bows, spindles, bottom boards, and top rocks. There were lots of opportunity for skills and many students sewed their poss bags (used to carry personal belongings), quiver kits to hold their fire making sets, carved spoons, and worked on their wood A frame backpacks. On our final days of the week with one another we welcomed another new member with an intro gathering and, last but not least, we had a token ceremony to honor a couple of students and one staff. The tokens included winged heart, brightness, peace walker, vital fire, and two challenge tokens. These were chosen to honor attributes in these individuals the group saw in them and wanted to shed light upon. The group showed so much growth, worked together to accomplish tasks, supported one another’s emotional needs, and found new and creative ways to be a better team. Signing off on another good week in the Ulurus!
Pindaris had a week of excitement. The group completed a couple of hikes during the expedition portion of the week that were very smooth and gave the students and staff an opportunity to learn more about each other. The weather also presented a refreshing break as it rained and brought much cooler temperatures. We celebrated by dancing in the rain as we appreciated the desert and the most welcomed rainfall. The Pindaris worked on improving their busting skills as well this week. Overall, the week had its challenges and each of the students shared how they finished the week strong!
Peak week began with the students spending time to reflect on their journeys at outBACK; where they were when they started and where they are now. The crew held a morning meditation where we discussed and processed the students’ experiences during their reflection time. This set the tone for the group as we made our way to southern Utah. Upon arriving at Duck Creek Campground in Cedar Canyon, the group set up camp and enjoyed a leisurely stroll to Duck Pond, where we held a gathering on “living in the unknown”. The theme of sitting in the unknown and sitting with the unknown proved to be a challenge for the group as a whole throughout the week.
As we made our way to the red sandstone of Saint George’s Cougar Cliffs, students were able to test their will in a rock climbing extravaganza. That evening we held a gathering where we processed the students’ climbing experiences from the first day of our climbing progression and shared what watching staff initially climbing the wall looked like for them. Students were able to share the anxieties, struggles, and successes they faced while climbing and discussed insights with one another. As the group progressed through their days of climbing, the group was motivated and determined to push themselves physically and mentally. Two group members were able to complete each climb they tried and push themselves to try a longer, more challenging climb as well. In a gathering later on, students shared the sense of pride and accomplishment they gained from climbing, and acknowledged the vulnerability of effort. The group participated in a meaningful gathering regarding perception and taking the path of least resistance that evening, challenging themselves to persevere through their struggles and lowest moments.
During our peak week, students and staff also had the opportunity to hike through an ice cave and visited the beautiful Cascade Falls. Students admired the striking rock features and pine trees throughout the hike, and braved some rain and thunder on the last leg of the trail. On the final day of peak, students hiked through the Tabernacle Lava Tubes and participated in a powerful last gathering about control and life after Outback. Overall, the students had a fun and transformative peak week, full of growth, laughter, and challenges.