We decided to try something new this month our first core group adventure trip. We packed up the adventure van with tents and beach gear and headed south down Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to San Onofre (on the coast just south of San Clemente). We arrived at San Mateo Campground mid morning and set up our campsites. After a quick change into beach attire we hiked down to the world renowned Trestles surf break. We established a day site and the clients set about frolicking in the ocean and enjoying some free time in the warm California sun.
Upon completion of some relaxation for some and intense paddle ball sessions for others we set about on our experiential exercises. The theme for this trip was “TRUST” so all of our activities revolved around this sometime simple and often times complex idea. The clients did several activities that built off one another which allowed space for the clients to gain trust in one another as well as themselves. Clients worked on both verbal and nonverbal communication skills and team building activities. While experiential in nature the activities allowed for the opportunity for laughter and fun as well as self reflection. All the while both the therapist and counselor were able to provide feedback to the clients.
By late afternoon, the last pelican flew overhead which we took as a sign to start heading back to camp. We arrived in camp and set about preparing a family-style BBQ dinner with all of the clients contributing to both preparations as well as clean up. A large bonfire ensued and provided the perfect opportunity to discuss the day’s events. Clients provided their insight and received feedback from one another. Upon completion of the process group it was time to start the MAP time-honored tradition of SMORES. We roasted marshmallows and shared about our lives. Much laughter ensued! We took a few moments to observe the beautiful night sky before heading to our individual tents and going to sleep.
The next morning we were up with the sun and watched a gorgeous sunrise over the Saddleback Mountain Range. With an early rise we went for a morning walk amongst the scrub brush before breakfast searching for birds, lizards, and the occasional wildflower. After breakfast we headed back down to Trestles for some more experiential activities and fun at the beach. Today’s focus was on leaving the past behind and moving into the future. Clients set about scanning the beach for objects that represented their past as well as objects that represent their future. We conducted a ceremony that allowed space for clients to bury their past and share their future with one another. This ceremony was emotional for some and allowed for healing to occur.