During the summer months, Dragonfly students are able to select from a variety of trips that are offered for their learning, growth, therapeutic work, and enjoyment. With COVID-19 impacting some of our regular routine stops, i.e., going to the Oregon coast, climbing and rafting in Bend, exploring the Redwoods, etc., Dragonfly staff was able to get creative this summer and build trips that centered around the outdoors and were within 50 miles from campus.
For four days, from June 14th to 17th, different groups that included 12-15 students each, ventured into the wilderness with staff members to embark on an adventure to remember. Rain, sunshine, cold or COVID-19 did not stop our students from enjoying themselves and making the most of their camping escapades.
The different 2020 Summer trips that students attended were:
Here is what staff had to say about these fun-filled trips:
“It was a rainy June trip, but we didn’t let that stop us from being creative outside. We hung out around our campsite playing disc golf and corn hole, explored a nearby section of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCL Trail), visited the stunning Butte Falls waterfall area where we hiked around and got wet in the cool, crisp water and afterwards, ate pies from a local desert store.” Academic Coordinator – Olivia
“There were lots of conversations and laughs by the fire each night where students talked about their experiences in Wilderness to their future goals/aspirations in life. Students also worked together on creating delicious breakfasts and dinners for everyone to enjoy. Staff and students were able to visit Mill Creek Falls (Mill Creek Hike) and Pearsony Falls (Pearsony Falls Hike) where we hiked down to viewpoints and were able to take photos and enjoy the Southern Oregon beauty. During van rides, students would sing and bounce around to the music as staff drove to and from different activities on the trip.” – Mentor Staff – Amber
“Due to the colder than normal weather and unexpected rain, the original plan of swimming, boats, paddle boards and kayaks had to be tossed aside as staff and students pivoted to create new opportunities for the students due to the sudden change in weather.
Staff and students spent their time at night around the campfire for warmth where we shared our wilderness experiences that were feeling oddly similar, cooked meals and delicious goodies in a Dutch oven, and shared stories and laughter. During the day, we hiked around Badger Creek Trail (Badger Creek Trail Hike) to find the perfect open lunch spot, visited the lodge to dodge the rain and enjoy some extra-large pizzas, and hiked around the pond and relaxed by the lake.” Lead Mentor – Cassie
“The Earth Teach trip allowed students to spread out, take time to reflect on their therapeutic journey and growth, participate in ceremony, and learn about eco education. This opportunity provided students a chance to participate in “solos” in the wilderness while having staff nearby and available but also, gave them the sense of freedom and independence. This is an important part of the therapeutic journey and is a great introduction to transition.” Program Director – Rae
These June trips may have looked a bit different historically from Dragonfly’s past trips, but it was apparent how much our students (and staff) enjoyed the summer trips this year. The students came back buzzing with excitement sharing stories of their individual trips and with a renewed freshness and sense of adventure. Being able to get outside in the wilderness, explore new places and opportunities, spend quality time together, and truly appreciate experiences that may have been easily taken for granted pre-COVID-19, made these trips that much more memorable. And… a little rain never hurt anyone!