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Special Holiday Meals in The Wilderness

Posted by Ed Coombs, Warehouse Coordinator on April 03, 2015

Ed In the wilderness, few things are more important than food.  Beyond the necessary calories to sustain life, food, and the preparation of meals, can become a substantial part of group culture.  It can be a time for clients to come together and work as one, or it can be a source of upset and difficulty as personalities and opinions come into conflict, and it happens every single day.  Groups look forward to and/or dread the question, “what are we making for dinner?”  Experience and memories are regularly served, along with beans and rice.

It’s these experiences that we want to bring into focus with holiday/special event meals. Special ingredients and options can bring excitement into the group to etch into memories accomplishments, like making Water Phase, a sobriety milestone, or a birthday celebration. We also send out meals for holiday observances, whether it’s spiritual or secular.

These events can spark thought and kindle positive experiences for the group.  Recently, the groups celebrated a wilderness St. Patrick’s Day.  Corned Beef, cabbage, red potatoes, carrots, and Irish Soda Bread were provided for the groups to prepare and share.   This provided time and space for staff and clients to process sobriety and make positive memories around a holiday that for many is merely an excuse for a party.  One Christmas that I spent in the field, I remember a client stating that it was the best Christmas that they could remember because they were having fun and there wasn’t any fighting or yelling, unlike most of the recent holiday seasons that he had experienced.   This is one of the hopes that we have for clients who are celebrating events in the wilderness; for them to make positive memories that can be relived and serve as and touchstone to help anchor healthy habits and choices.

For the upcoming Spring Holidays of Easter and Passover, groups will be provided with a variety of items. For Passover, groups will receive a meal that includes kosher roast beef, knish, matzah, and other kosher items, as well as other cultural/spiritual items. For Easter, groups will receive Ham and Roast Beef, red potatoes, carrots, and rolls. Groups will also get Easter Eggs and natural dye kits (plastic eggs and alternative entre options are provided for vegetarians and other dietary restrictions!).

Events like this help to change up the routine of camp life, and invite reflection.  This is just another way that we hope to engage clients in their journey toward growth and have some fun doing it.

Easter eggs




This was feedback from a Group 6 client:

Thank you very much for taking the time to put together meals for both Passover and Easter. The roast beef, ham, and eggs were prime. I appreciate the fact that we get to celebrate different traditions out here in the wilderness.

I'm not Jewish, but it was great to learn about the celebration of the Passover. I'm Catholic, so it was awesome to have a specialized dinner for Easter. The little things can have a large impact on us out here. Thanks again!

Posted by Ed

Feedback from another Group 6 client:

I would like to say thank you for the Passover and Easter meals. I really appreciated them, as well as the group . . . I enjoyed all of both meals. Thank you for taking time out of your day to make ours better.
Thanks again. - W.B.

Posted by Ed

Feedback from group 4-

The group FLIPPED THEIR [TOPS] with happiness over Easter stuff/Passover. Made the week :)

Posted by Ed

Letter from G3 client A.M.
To whoever orchestrated the St. Pat’s day feast, (Ed?)
I just wanted to personally thank you. I can image that div must often be a stressful time of the week for you guys making sure all the clients get call-out and enough food and I’d think that getting all that extra food together would be a real pain in the [expletive deleted] as was totally above and beyond your job description. You guys didn’t have to, but you did and because of that we had one of the best meals at Second Nature yet.
I know this letter is late (I put it down and forgot about it for a while), but I just wanted you to know that G3 and I all really appreciate the work you do and it’s not unnoticed.
A.M. and G3

Posted by Ed

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