Each year Dragonfly Transitions does a variety of adventure based trips throughout the month of September. This year Dragonfly students and therapists explored Colorado, the Pacific Northwest, and one trip traveled to Utah and Zion National Park. Overall the trip was a huge success. The goals of these trips are to challenge and support students as they engaged therapeutically in an experiential manner. There is the obvious physical challenge that comes with hiking and canyoneering that the students were able to rise to as they gained feelings of personal ability and effectiveness. There are also the unseen challenges, like being in a car with a group for 10 hours, or working with a group to make dinner and be ready to leave on time. Students also made great gains being more aware of others, supporting others, and at times expressing frustration in a healthy manner. Everyone gained perspective and self-awareness being surrounded by the beauty and magnitude of Zion National Park.
Below are a few words from students about their experience:
“I knew we would have an early morning, but I wasn’t expecting to be nudged awake by the wall of our tent as it shoved inward, then there was a great blow, and my tent mate rumbled, “Hey, are you up?” And so, at 2:23 am, I began my twenty-first birthday struggling to fix our fly tarp, which had been blown into our tent and caused it to collapse. It was not a glorious start to the day, but the day ended well with pizza, the group singing happy birthday to me, and card playing”.
“On the third day we had a hike through a canyon planned. This began with getting outfitted with special shoes and socks because we would be spending most of the time walking through a river. The hike was wonderful, around every turn was an amazing view with monolithic walls of rock rising high and beautiful colors striping the walls. We broke for lunch around 11am. The group made a decision to continue on a less traveled offshoot of the river. After lunch the group had a noticeable shift in energy, as we walked we were less spread out and joking and encouraging each other. It wasn’t long before we came to a small cascade of water. Soon the question began to be asked, “who is going up that?” Then mentor Will jumped in to a small pool with little hesitation and he was soon up to his chest in water. The group cheered and laughed as Will faced the small waterfall and overcame it”.
“There was one more exciting stretch in the canyon path, as the therapist Cory liked to think it was a very literal trust fall. A span over the river that needed to be crossed and with staff on both side and the opposing wall just out of reach, students needed to fall forward with their hands out in order to be able to step across. With hesitation from all, and some more than others, everyone crossed the gap”.
“This day the group had two choices: we could stay around town and visit a museum, or we could go on a hike to a spot called Angel’s Landing. I chose to go with the group that went up to Angel’s Landing. I am afraid of heights and I had been warned that this hike would be very steep. So steep in fact that people have died on it. So I chose to go on the hike but with the heavy stipulation that I would turn around any time that I was not feeling comfortable.
The hike to the summit is about two and a half miles and ascends about 1500 feet. The first two miles of the hike is on a nice wide well defined path. At the end of those two miles there is a flat stopping point which is where the much more challenging part of the hike begins. Looking ahead at this point I started to get much more nervous. The wide well defined trail quickly becomes one carved into the narrow rock face with chains attached alongside for safety. Without the chains I wouldn’t have been able to reach the summit of Angel’s Landing. Having something very stable to hang on to made my fear of heights manageable. The way back down was actually much more stressful for me, but since there was only one way back down I didn’t have much choice but to tough through the climb down. The rest of the hike down was fairly uneventful and we all made it safe back to camp that evening.”
“Snow Canyon offered us the opportunity to all enjoy a simple hike together and see more of Utah’s spectacular geological features. During the hike we found a shady spot under one of the not-so-many trees. Staff asked each person to collect a rock that represented a character quality, emotion, or simply a rock that looked cool to him or her. Once everyone returned everyone was asked to show their rock and explain why they chose it. The group then was challenged at this point to incorporate each rock into one cairn representing all of us as one team”.
“Today we prepared for the long adventurous day of canyoneering. We walked across the street to Zion Adventure Company, where we met our wonderful guides: BJ, Bailey and Laura. They went over safety expectations, they helped us by fitting us with the gear we needed. An important piece of gear was the Piranha, which we had to stick the rope through to rappel. We went to Kolob canyon. I was very nervous but excited. Everyone had a blast and we worked together as a team through each obstacle that we came to. Near the end, we all went through a “squeeze” which is when part of the canyon has two rock walls so close together that you really have to squeeze through the crack. We headed back to the Zion Campground, ate dinner and since we’ve been a great punctual group, all staff treated all of us to ice cream. We brought it back and listened to another students “life story”. As the night came to an end, we pre-packed for the next morning and our departure from Zion and headed off too bed. Goodnight Zion
10/29 Family Workshop (virtual)
11/11 Parent Cohort Virtual