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Workshop brings first responder families out of the woodwork!

Is there a better way to hammer out the Winter blues than by getting out for a woodworking workshop? Fortem brought together a group of first responders and their families to participate in a workshop that saw them learn new skills and get to take home their finished project. It was an excellent opportunity to spend some time together building bird feeders, toys and more whilst building family bonds. Despite the complaints of sore arms, it was also great to be active and connect with other first responder families too.

Although it was almost midday, the weather was still freezing cold as the workshop was held in an open space. The participants worked on various types of projects: wooden spoon, egg basket, chopping board, bird feeder, and ping pong launcher – which was the item that most of the kids enjoyed the most.

Our woodwork expert and instructor, Sal, guided the whole group throughout the process and was very clear on providing the instructions that even the kids were able to follow. Most participants had not learnt any woodworking skills before, so the workshop was a great way to build self-confidence as they rose to the challenge. During the workshop, it was also great to see participants who were doing the same type of item were seen helping each other in how to hammer a nail, smooth the wood, and use the equipment.

It was lovely to see the children chatting with each other as they worked on their toy project for the workshop, and amazing that by the end, they had finished products they could play with together. The kids also enjoyed experimenting on their items – with one carving the first letter of their name for a room décor.

The parents helped their children throughout the workshop, as needed. Spending time together as a family helped develop family bonds, with a shared connection over sore arms. Who knew woodworking would be such an arm workout!

The adult first responders were also chatting with each other, sharing compliments on each other’s woodwork projects. As it was a new experience for the participants, they were very satisfied with how their finished projects looked. They were able to customise the products to their likings – with some putting wooden fairy or mushroom to their items.

Morning tea was provided so participants warmed up with hot drinks while taking a break from doing their projects, with a chance to chat and connect. Everyone enjoyed the activity overall, thanking Fortem for the opportunity to learn a new skill. One participant said that the activity was “Perfect for me,” because not only was she able to learn a new skill, but also make new friends by connecting with them.

“I haven’t been out for the longest time, but the woodwork workshop was a great activity to start going out for.”

Thank you to Two Sheds Workshop located at Wanniassa.

Find a Wellbeing Activity in the Canberra region on our Wellbeing Activity Calendar.

Fortem activities are designed to support the mental fitness of our first responder families. Read more about Our Approach.
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