On the drive down a winding dirt road into the valley for Men’s Day Out there was a feeling of positive but nervous energy building within. The smell of the campfire smoke had a soothing influence and, taking in the views I knew the day ahead would be fun and I would leave this place with some wonderful memories to share with my family and friends.
Glenworth Valley was the ideal location to step out of our caring roles for a few hours and take in the relaxing feeling that comes from being in nature. A gentle breeze, fresh air and chorus of singing birds offered calm for the mind and body that, when caring for someone else is your main priority, is often hard to find.
After introductions and some morning tea, our group’s first activity was kayaking down the peaceful waters of Popran Creek. Working together in pairs we soon found our rhythm which would come in handy during the afternoon drumming session. Out on the water surrounded by nature the physical aspect of paddling seemed only slight as we appreciated the warmth of the summer sun and landscape of the valley. Upon returning to shore there was a sense of achievement, we had come back dry and enjoyed an activity that, without this opportunity at Men’s Day Out, may not have been possible.
Back at our base we shared a delicious BBQ lunch that was perfectly cooked (I know the Chef well) along with some cold ginger beers, salads and healthy snacks that really hit the spot after a couple hours in the kayaks.
During lunch we got to spend more time getting to know one another before our afternoon drumming activity which was new to some in the group, but enthusiastically performed by all. Led by the master drummer we learned some beats and techniques that created a fun and interactive experience for the group. As we played the deep and gentle bass sounds along with the low and high tones it reminded me a little of what it is like to be a carer. We go through a range of emotions and experiences, the good and the hard times but we keep playing and keep doing what we need to do to make sure our loved ones know we care, the beat goes on.
We each shared a different story during our time together, our perspectives and experience like all caring roles are unique to us. Throughout the day and during our conversations at morning tea and after lunch there was a great sense of respect and appreciation within the group. We discussed our hobbies, what we do to relax, the places we live and the people in our lives – all things that influence our life and in many ways represent the community and supports around us.
Thank you to Lisa Marie from Carer Escapes for your initiative to develop Men’s Day Out, recognition of men in caring roles through activities like this will make a difference in the lives of men and their families. Events like Men’s Day Out need funding in order to become a reality and The Iris Foundation’s sponsorship of this event was sincerely appreciated. Already doing great work in schools and with emergency services on the Central Coast, we are grateful to The Iris Foundation for their funding and encouragement to support men in caring roles.
Final thanks go to the men who took up the opportunity to play a part in the first ever Men’s Day Out. Thank you for your honesty, insights and support. Men Care Too is proud to have been involved in this event and is excited to work on more opportunities in the future.
I did leave Glenworth Valley with a smile, knowing that along with other men I had contributed to a fun and enjoyable day. It was just one day, but a special memory that I can, and will share with others.