The RabbitStick Room

Have you ever been stripped of everything you own, separated from all you know, and driven out into the wilderness to live?  Have you ever had to make the heart wrenching decision to get help and send your child to a wilderness program. Have you wanted to find a place where you could give back to teenagers/ young adults and spend your days hiking, laughing, playing in the dirt, sharing your heart, and listening with new ears?  Or Have you ever wanted to do therapy in new way where theory & recreation meet a change of heart model?

Well, at ANASAZI all of these collide on Fridays.

At ANASAZI we give our YoungWalkers, TrailWalkers, parents, and all other staff the opportunity to have a new beginning. We do this in a lot of different, life changing ways, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the RabbitStick Room.

The RabbitStick room is where the YoungWalkers go right after they say goodbye to their parents. They change out of their clothes and get ready to go out into the Tonto National Forest.  I wish everyone could have the opportunity to hear, see, and feel the cacophony  of  sounds, the eclectic personalities,  the heartbreak, and the nervous buzz that fills that room and reverberates through the halls.

In the RabbitStick room there are moments of terror, laughter, music, questions, relief, dred, sorrow, shame, guilt, and so much more. If you stand in there long enough you can hear the echo of hundreds of TrailWalkers. If you could come and sit or sleep on the couch in that room you would understand the amount of tears and heart ache that have been shed there.

If you sit on the ground and are patient you might be able to visualize the many Blanket Steppings that parents have had on that ground.If you walk over to the white board you will notice remnants of dry erase pictures, lists, trail names, and checked boxes. Next you might wander over to the piano that is a source of stress relief, entertainment, and sometimes as a way to escape or pass the time.

The RabbitStick room is holy ground.

I have witnessed many YoungWalkers, TrailWalkers, & parents go into that room one way and come out of that room another. If those walls could talk I am sure they would have glorious stories to tell of hearts that broke and spilled out all over the floor. Of incredible strength it took for many to not just burst out of the room and into the streets. I am sure they would also tell you of the quiet moments where TrailWalkers, off the trail, gathered to talk, steal internet, or just have a sitting.  They might also whisper to you of the staff who come in and take a power nap or who play the piano to relieve stress. Whatever the walls could reveal it would be nothing compared to the journeys of the heart that started in that little room.

And so I wonder where is your “RabbitStick” room  in your life?

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Kylee Shields

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  • Great article.
    In thinking about more about it, there are very few rooms that I know of that mean more to me than the RabbitStick Room. I worked for two summers at Anasazi as a trailwalker. Both times I went through the week long training and spent most of it in that room. I remember Andrew telling us about hanging up our burdened coats at the door and I remember feeling at home. I remember Ezekiel painting red ochre on my palm and teaching me about Sacred Trust and feeling humbled. I remember sitting with a youngwalker as he lay on the floor, refusing to go out to the trail, or even to move. So many important journeys started in that room.
    Rolling Waters

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