Victorian first responder families have loved getting back to face-to-face wellbeing activities, and connecting with others who have been through a similarly challenging time.
In Gippsland, our Forest Family Adventure Day saw six families having some daredevil adventures before getting together for a chat over lunch.
The families were grateful to be able to get out again, being the first family activity for several families for months. Not only did they enjoy getting out together, but they enjoyed experiencing activities that children may do on school camps, but which they often can’t do together. The afternoon saw everyone on the flying fox, some taking up the challenge of some very difficult high ropes challenges, and others had a go at archery.
Our weekly fitness activity has resumed, and participants are very appreciative to get active again after lockdowns.
Our weekly Coffee, Craft and Chat Catch Up has continued despite lockdowns by meeting virtually or in the park when restrictions have allowed. This small group of ladies have continued to become a great support and encouragement to each other as they follow up on each other both at the activity, and independently during the week as well.
A new activity is Preschoolers in the Park. Each session we have a variety of activities that cover all of the 5 Ways of Wellbeing. The goal is for parents and children to have a rich time of interaction together, as well as meeting other first responder families with preschoolers.
Our first session saw the children making dinosaur gardens by collecting items they found in the park. This was not just a huge hit for the morning, but they still have the gardens for playing with. The other highlight of the first week was our parents learning how to make balloon animals for their children. After a few secret tips from Fortem Engagement Coordinator Julie, who has had many years’ practice of making balloon animals, each child went home with some uniquely shaped dogs made by their parents.
In our second Preschoolers in the Park session, the parents had the fun of face painting their children and then in return, the children painted their Mum or Dad! Going by the chatter between the families and the words of encouragement and laughter, these sessions have definitely been successful in building positive memories for these families who are so used to working on rosters that they often miss out on time to just play with their children.