From 21st – 25th November, we held our inaugural Wellbeing Convention, Healthy by Nature at Camp Marysville. Healthy by Nature focused on the importance of being in nature, social connectedness, personal growth and wellbeing, providing participants with practical and innovative solutions to assist in their recovery.
On Tuesday 22nd November, participants were welcomed to country by Uncle Roy Patterson, an elder of the Daungurung, the mountain and river people of Victoria, and the Shire of Murrindindi’s new Mayor, Cr. Charlotte Bisset, officially opened the convention.
There were keynote speakers from the University of Melbourne, Spiritual Health Victoria and Smiling Mind. Participants were treated to thought-provoking presentations and practical, hands-on workshops covering a range of topics like Positive Psychology, Spirituality, Mindfulness, Meditation and Environmental Health. In addition, they participated in outdoor activities like bushwalking, mountain biking, canoeing on Lake Eildon, yoga and drumming.
We invited 60 participants, 40 from Out Doors Inc. and 10 from Within Australia (formerly Snap) who travelled all the way from East Gippsland and 10 from Mind Australia. It was great to see the participants make new friends and learn from each other’s experiences and stories they shared over the 5 days.
We chose Marysville as the convention site because it’s obviously such a beautiful area and it allowed us access to several sites where we can run the outdoor activities. We also wanted to support the local community who always support us. We regularly run activities in the region (Marysville, Toolangi, the Cathedrals, Yarra Ranges), averaging around 15 programs per year.
Following our arrival and registration at Camp Marysville, David Stirling, Chairman of Marysville’s Chamber of Commerce, talked to us about the Black Saturday fires and the inspiring recovery of Marysville. David also talked about his own personal journey through this time. People could see the lush regrowth of the area, but also noticeable only when you chose to look, were the scars the fires had left behind.
Feedback from participants was extremely positive. Most were quoted as having never attended a convention like Healthy by Nature, and everyone left feeling inspired and armed with new tools and knowledge to move forward in their recovery journey.
“Thank you for creating an amazing convention. Our participants have come away reinvigorated with a pile of very useful tools.” Within Australia
“It was a great success, as it always is working with you guys. Our clients and staff loved it and look forward to doing more together again.” MIND Australia
Evaluations are still being analysed, we hope to have the full report ready early next year. Based on anecdotal feedback, the convention was an overwhelming success and we are hoping to run another later in 2017.
You can read the full program in the convention handbook here.