Just above my home, about a 9-iron away, is access to a trailhead for a smooth 10-mile stretch that runs along the base of the beautiful Wasatch mountains overlooking the valley. This relatively flat bike path is a perfect round trip distance for my level of expertise. I take this ride about two days a week on average, both for the exercise and to soak up the majestic views. I feel free, unencumbered, and for about an hour I have an opportunity for quiet and peaceful reflection.
It has taken some time for Evoke to make a formal statement regarding the racial injustices in our country. Theses injustices have always been here, and the recent footage of the abuse and murders of people of color along with the systemic oppression laid bare by the Black Lives Matter movement—lack of basic healthcare, higher infant mortality rates, stunted access to housing and jobs, dramatically higher rates of incarceration—have led our nation, and Evoke itself, to an inescapable reckoning.
Like the first day of school, the first day at Evoke can be exciting, scary, and full of unknowns. This snapshot into the day will hopefully help shed some light on the process. The saying goes: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” This concept of gradual steps is the key focus of Day One.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have had some great experiences working with families, especially parents. As a parent educator and my experiences as someone’s child, I have seen different important factors that affect a parent and child relationship. In my graduate studies, I learned of a culturally diverse concept that helped clinical therapists consider contextual factors that make up an individual.
For me, hiking is hard, yet simple. And it’s a lot like life. Let me explain what I mean. I was recently on a big hike with some friends to an alpine lake, which was supposedly a beautiful and fun way to spend a day.
Most folks who have worked in wilderness have become familiar with strange languages borne from years of living in the wild. To this day I find myself saying things like, “Did you bring your wig?” when asking my partner if they have their sleeping bag for a camping trip, or “Do we have torts for taco night?” to my roommate at the grocery store in reference to the tortilla rack. Even staff who have been gone for years and are now working in non-wilderness realms will throw Evokian lingo into our daily conversations, “I could just really use some p-time right now,” when rain-checking plans in order to have some personal/alone time.
Anxiety disorders are the single most common mental health condition in children and adolescents. It is also the most treatable, and so, though distressing, it’s a condition that contains much hope.
Like it or not, the world of human services is going online, and the need for a transformative experience with a highly skilled therapist that is accessible in the comfort and safety of the home has never been more apparent.
Evoke wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t founded on symbiotic relationships at every level. Students and field instructors live together and support each other every week in the wilderness. Parents, students, and therapists work together constantly to achieve therapeutic outcomes. And our Cascades and Entrada offices partner with local companies and organizations as much as possible to help everyone in the community thrive. My career-development experience has been no exception.
Living in the wilderness provides many opportunities for creativity. Absent the items and distractions we can come to depend upon in the front country, we are required to find new ways to do things. The field is an environment in which students practice creativity as not only a way to be resourceful, but also to have fun! I’ll cover some of the ways we find creativity in the back country.