Wilderness Weekly 9.14.18

Silhouette of boy overlooking desert in UtahDingoes:  The Dingoes had several fun hikes, the first hike lead the group to an old stone miners house, while the other hike lead them along Cherry Creek. Students collected Willow for skills and played in the creek. The group struggled at times accepting their own anxiety verses looking for others to blame. This improved through the week, however, and students began seeing the positives that can come from acknowledging their feelings, processing the source of their feelings, and being vulnerable enough to engage with one another. Students are excited to look forward to staying in the area along the creek for several more days.

Gnowees: Our Gnowees were able to facilitate a beautiful ceremony in which they honored their fellow student with the Giver token. The group conquered long night hikes and worked together as a team to help support one another. The students were also able to welcome a new student to the group this week. They were also able to celebrate the reunion with some of the Gnowees who spent time away for adventures during their Peak Week.

Ulurus: The Ulurus had a great week. The students were able to create some amazing bonds amongst the crew and learned a great deal from each other. The boys worked on continuing to develop and hone in on their resiliency. They were able to see their own accomplishments as they took on some longer hikes that proved to be incredible. Some of the students were able to enjoy parent visits as well as participate in token ceremonies to honor the students for their hard work.  Last but not least, the Ulurus were able to create ceremonies to help celebrate the receiving of trail names as well.


This week our Adventure Therapy during Peak Week  went out in full force with students from every Outback group: the Gnowees, Dingoes, Brumbies, and Uluru. We were a mighty and energetic crew with eight students and three staff journeying across Utah for adventure, self-discovery, and healing. We first dabbled with adventure at the Meadow Lavatubes, travelling underground through canals once carved out by lava. We then travelled south to go rock climbing on sandstone and limestone cliffs in St. George, where we also dived into the stories of what brought each of us to Outback. Each of us recalled something we wanted to let go from our lives as we rappelled into a small basalt canyon littered with cottonwoods and large white desert flowers. On our final leg of the journey to Goblin Valley (an internationally recognized dark sky park where the Milky Way is unusually bright), we passed red rock and orange canyons during our sunset drive.

The group was able to experience the full process of forming, storming, norming and performing this week.  Students came together to form a new group and experienced first hand, the natural process of storming as they began to try and figure one another out. Students suggested a resolution strategy called a VOMP (voice, ownership, eMpathy, plan). After over an hour of group discussion, we were able to empathize with each other and come back as a fierce group of 11. Determined Coyote, Influential Milky Way, and Iridescent Vibe all received tokens this week. On our journey back to our groups in the West Desert of Utah we stopped for lunch at a local café and shared a lot of joy and laughs together. Although we came from all over the US, coming from different cultures, coming to Outback for many different reasons, our Peak Week community was strengthened by our differences and our conflict.


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