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Volunteers hold first of its kind symposium in region on final day of Mental Health Week

The Castor Advance - 5/15/2019

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Advance

The region around Castor has a lot of options for health and wellness.

A number of those health and wellness options were on display May 10th during the health and wellness symposium held at the Castor Community Hall. The symposium was the first of its kind for the region and was a well-attended affair.

"We were very happy with the turn out," said Doreen Blumhagen, one of the volunteer organizers.

"We had a goal of 100 people coming out to the event, and we ended up with 104."

The symposium was put together to feature the many health and wellness options in the region and featured a variety of snap sessions that the people were attending were able to choose from, as well as a keynote speaker in the afternoon. The snap sessions were hosted by the different health and wellness vendors that had been invited to participate in the event and were an opportunity for people to ask questions.

Attendees had the option to pick four of 14, 20 minutes sessions during the morning, and the sessions varied from a presentation on meditation hosted by a business from Alliance to representatives from the Castor Community Network speaking about Castor's Health and Wellness Policy.

There was even a session hosted by Nikki Hanton demonstrating the hospital's new In-Body body analysis machine.

"We have lots going on in our community," said Blumhagen.

"People shouldn't have to leave our community to have a healthy lifestyle. We may not have all the resources of a bigger centre, but we have each other."

The meal for the event was catered by the Prairie Farm Project, a group of three local small farms that pooled their resources to provide a locally-sourced soup and sandwich lunch between the snap sessions and the keynote speaker.

The keynote address was given by Deb DeWaal of Calgary.

DeWaal is a former Calgary Police Services officer who spent around 12 years in high stress situations before retiring.

Through insights, stories from her personal life and her time as a cop, she spoke for two hours on 'mental toughness' leaving the audience with tools that they could use in their everyday life.

The Health and Wellness Symposium was organized by a volunteer committee consisting of Blumhagen, Tammy Spady, Leanne Logheed, Heide Downey and Nikki Wiart.

The funding for the symposium was provided through $5,000 in funding from Paintearth Economic Partnership Society (PEPS).

Money raised from the $40 ticket fee goes back to PEPS.

With the success of this event, sights are already on the possibility of doing it again. "I would love to do it again," said Blumhagen.