Another post from Bob. I apologize in advance if the content comes across as terse or without any real passion. We are all pretty tapped out emotionally right now.
Well, today marks three weeks that Alex has been at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy. We received a letter from him yesterday, along with a bunch of great photos (some are in this post!).
Major takeaways from his letter:
- He has progressed to the next stage of his pathway. Essentially, all the kids start in gateway, then move from South to West to East to North. The goal is to advance through each point during your time in the wilderness by accomplishing designated tasks. Alex is now in West, and he is super pumped about it.
- He is making friends and enjoying the camaraderie. He has witnessed one kid graduate already, and it was very powerful.
- He has found his role within the team and has gravitated toward more of a leadership role; no surprise here. And he has made a solid connection with one of the other kids in the team who shares the same taste in music and movies.
- He is loving the hiking and being out in nature; he mentioned some huge claw marks in a tree that either came from a cougar or a bear.
- One of the highlights of the week was hiking to the top of a mountain to watch the sunset.
Overall, the tone of his letter was very positive and introspective. We get the same feedback during our weekly call with his on-site therapist as well. Jenn, Logan, and I continue to miss him dearly, and the emotions are still very raw. BUT, we are so happy to see him making progress and taking advantage of the time at Open Sky. Jenn and I will be in Colorado soon for Parent’s Wellness Weekend. We won’t be able to see Alex which makes the trip a bit tough, but we will get a chance to interact with the therapists and other parents, as we prepare for his graduation and return home. Additionally, Jenn and I are working hard here locally in Bend to make sure we have the resources and systems in place to support Alex when he gets home, as well as other local kids who have gone and continue to go through similar circumstances. More to follow on this as our plan unfolds.
Lastly, we continue to be humbled by everyone’s kind words and support. Please share these posts and spread the word about wilderness therapy for kids suffering from depression. This is a real issue, and we should not shy away from discussing it and addressing it.
Love that face!