Callanders Woodland Activity Programme

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On Wednesday 9th August, four of Balhousie Wheatland's residents travelled to Callander Park to participate in the Forestry Commissions woodland activity programme for our second week.


This week we met even more participants than the previous week. This group is run for individuals with dementia but carers and relatives are welcome to join in, which many did and in return they encouraged and assisted the other in the group. It was wonderful to see everyone getting to know each other around the campfire. Everyone worked together breaking branches down for fire wood, in harmony ,working as a united team and ,after we were satisfied with our pile of firewood , we nominated someone to start the fire. Our designated fire starter got the participants to help build an aerodynamic base structure to allow the air to flow through the fire, which the Rangers had shown us the on the previous session. The new participants that joined this weeks session met some familiar faces of residents, over a cup of tea or coffee made from the Kellie kettle. Around the campfire old friends and new chatted and admired the fire they built together.


Whilst getting a little more background about the woodland activity programme, as a dementia ambassador myself ,I being very eager to learn more beneficial therapies. These Rangers have seen these benefits as a number of the participants we met today have returned year after year, and appeared to enjoy it. There was a nice atmosphere around the campfire as everyone ate their lunch and an outburst of songs began.


The Ranger got our attention for our next treat! Everyone was passed what looked like a slice of wood. It was called a Cookie this was an ash cookie. We learned a little about the ash tree, such as how to count how old the branch which our cookie came from, you do this by counting the rings from the centre. The ranger also told us of the Ash tree mythological theories as being the tree of life and believed to have healing properties. We used our Cookie as a pendent and created necklaces with our names on it to help us remember our new friends names. Two of our residents decided they would rather make their necklaces to take home for their Wife and daughter, and the gentlemen appeared pleased with their work and asked for some special messages added. The thoughtfulness touched the ambassadors so the Rangers helped make the two gentlemen one each for themselves.


Everyone left the campsite being very friendly, smiling as they said their goodbyes, thanking each other  for a good time as they left for the short walk to the car park. The walk back to the car park is pleasant and it was a beautiful day for it.