By Brad Virgona
THIS WAS THE SECOND five-day participant convention organised by Out Doors Inc and it was very successful.
60 participants living with mental health issues aged 16 – 92 years.
There were several workshops and activities that participants could choose to be involved with, including tai chi meditation, personal reflection in the bush, nutrition on a budget, bushwalking, ziplining, high ropes, swing dancing, indoor climbing, bike riding, fishing, photography in the bush, bike maintenance, connecting with Nature, “anxiety: who needs it”, exploring how to deal positively with emotions and feeling, being creative in nature, the art of knots, bush dance and participant’s stories.
The workshops and activities that l was involved with whilst on the convention was personal reflection in the bush.
We took the time to immerse ourselves in the natural environment and listen to the birds, the river flowing, the trees swaying in the breeze and relaxing in our environment and taking in what nature has to offer.
The next activity l was involved with was nutrition on a budget.
This workshop focused on food as medicine. There were discussions around nutrition and what it is and what we require on a daily basis to remain healthy and maintain good mental health. Participants were given menu ideas which were nutritional, simple and of low cost. The workshop was very appropriate and helpful to those living on a low budget.
I was involved with the participant’s stories whereby l did a talk about my personal experience of living with mental illness, my struggles along the way, my achievements and support provided to me on my journey.
I remember at the end of my talk l had a participant who l did not know to approach me and give me a big hug and she said that she could really relate to my story. This really made my day!
Other activities l was involved in were; fishing by the river that surrounded our accommodation at Forest Edge, this was very relaxing and gave me a chance to talk and get to know other participants. A sing-a-long in the evening by the river, we all sat in a circle and enjoyed singing different songs and a Bush dance in the barn. This was fun.
The weather was warm so we also enjoyed swimming in the river and playing on the water slide so there was lots of fun going on.
The food at the convention was very nice and we had things like parmigiana, pizza, pasta, roasts and salads.
I look forward to future conventions and hope that this is something that can continue. It was nice to meet new people and catch up with old friends on the convention. I personally got a lot out of the convention as it challenged me and motivated me and also allowed me to share my story which l felt was a huge achievement for me as 10 years ago l probably would not have shared such a personal story due to having no confidence in myself.
Thank you Out Doors for the opportunity to do this.
Every month, Out Doors Inc. gives our Participants a chance to share their stories and passion projects. If you’d like to learn more or get involved, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org