ABOVE:Yes, it’s all happening in the Riverina and Environs. PHOTOS PROVIDED BY LETICIA FRANCHI
By Leticia Franchi, Mental Health Worker
We are sure our city readers sometimes wonder what sort of activities are available for people who access our services in “sleepy” country towns. So we asked Leticia, a Mental Health Worker for Flourish Australia in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area town of Griffith NSW, to give us a description.
On the Rampage
During February the Griffith and Leeton groups travelled to Lake Talbot in Narrandera, about 87kms from Griffith. There were three swimming pools, picnic areas and THE RAMPAGE! The Rampage is a big water slide which Autumn Pierpoint, one of the other Mental Health Workers at Griffith, was brave enough to try! We all had a great time swimming and our exercise guru, Gail Cummings, led a water aerobics class. Some of her moves had us all in stitches! After all the swimming we had some very hungry people. We organised a picnic lunch of bread rolls, BBQ chicken, salad and fruit, which everyone devoured.
Shopping for Mardi Gras
A month later during March the Griffith group travelled 187km to Wagga Wagga, along with the Leeton group, for some much needed retail therapy. Everybody enjoyed shopping and having lunch at the plaza. We used this opportunity to visit many op shops and to find some fashion accessories so we could dress up for the Hay Mardi Gras. People walked away with some great bargains including books, DVDs, clothing and much more.
Griffith and Leeton groups also met for a BBQ lunch at City Park in Griffith. Jeff, who accesses the Leeton site was joined by peer worker Michelle Van Ree in cooking a beautiful lunch which we all enjoyed. Lunch included rissoles, kebabs, sausages, onion and salads. The bluetooth speaker got a good workout that afternoon, blaring amazing tunes throughout the day. A few of the men played a game of frisbee, too. Baker’s Delight donated some bread for the day, which we were so grateful for!
We also had a great day of Bingo at the Griffith Office. Everyone absolutely loves Bingo, and it offers a chance to win some awesome prizes, too!
We make our own paint!
During April the Griffith group had a great time making our own paint to create wonderful puffy paint art! First, we made the paint by combining flour, baking powder, water, salt and food colouring. We put this paint mixture in zip-lock bags and used the zip-lock bags as dispensers. Once we had finished our creations, they went into the microwave for 45 seconds and the paint magically popped up on the page, creating amazing 3D art!
Also during April the Griffith group went Ten Pin Bowling at Star Bowling in Griffith. Everyone involved wore cute rabbit ears, and we had some very talented bowling bunnies on the day! We all love to go bowling, but this occasion was egg-stra special as it came with Easter eggs!
The Griffith group traveled about 133kms away from Griffith to Lake Cargelligo to meet with mental health worker Verona Blue, who is establishing a new service in that area. We all loved eating some sugarfree Anzac biscuits while overlooking the lake. We also attended the Lake Cargelligo visitor’s centre where we learned a little about the town and bought some souvenirs. Another highlight of this trip was listening to some great music on the way there and back. We have some amazing singers in our group and they absolutely loved belting out the tunes in the bus!
The people who access our Griffith service have traditionally taken a yearly holiday. Everyone gets involved in organising the trip and picking the destination. Last year it was Canberra. Everyone LOVES these trips away, as for some people it is the only time they get to leave Griffith, let alone go on a holiday! I have done a fair bit of travelling overseas and I know everyone loves hearing all my stories about it. I’m sure they would all absolutely love to go overseas one day.
ABOVE: Location map. The distance covered is larger than some small countries.