Written by Lauren Meister
An historic farmhouse near Cochrane will soon be a place for First Responders to go to begin their journey to wellness post-trauma.
First responders risk everything to keep us safe and often struggle alone with navigating resources and trying to figure out their path to mental wellness.
Wineglass Wellness Retreat will be a safe and secure place for first responders, military and their families to go post-trauma.
A steering committee of people who have experienced PTSD have put together a unique peer-led program that will offer a variety of resources to first responders who are struggling.
Detective Paul Wagman with the Calgary Police Service, who lives in Cochrane is one of the lead organizers.
He says this will be a space for first responders as well as their family members.
"We're going to have a location where post trauma, emergency workers and military and their families can come to try to get things to settle and try to deal with that trauma so it doesn't develop into anything worse or PTSD. And certainly you know with the current COVID crisis and the fact that our emergency workers are pretty stretched right now, there's going to be a significant need for them not only now but in the in the immediate future."
Det. Wagman says this will help to promote a journey to wellness.
"A lot of people who have experienced PTSD describe it very much as a journey. The unfortunate thing is when many of our emergency workers and military have gone through it they've had to navigate that and we're putting a lot of those things that were successful regarding wellness and overcoming that. Basically their coping strategies and changing behaviors in order for not just our emergency workers, but everybody to adopt in order to be healthy and to become resilient so you don't become injured."
He says "Wineglass Wellness Retreat will be a place when those debriefs happen, when you have those major incidents like we're seeing very, very frequently across Canada and locally. Those emergency workers have those traumas, they do operational debriefs and then they're somewhat left in a very uncomfortable position of what to do next. There's lots of resources available but there's no place where they can come and settle and figure out their path or their journey to healing."
Det. Wagman says the retreat will offer counseling services among other things.
"Once we're ready to operate, we're offering a variety of different modalities on site, such as equine therapy, meditation, yoga, nutrition and a variety of other things including access to nature and wellness."
He says there will also be a focus on Native healing.
"One of the unique programs we're developing with one of our members on the steering committee is former Tsuut’ina Chief Lee Crowchild, is a woman led Aboriginal healing so that when our emergency workers come there really is a lot of choices that they can access. Whether that be sweats, or equine therapy down the road, in order to get them back on their journey to wellness."
Det. Wagman says they are holding a fundraising event on May 21 & 22 that will see several people isolate while raising money to fix up the old farm house.
"This is a developing project and as we're kind of moving on that journey. We're also working on the journey to get this established, and more importantly, on our launch on the 21 and 22 is going to be called alone together where we isolate numerous emergency workers who are kind of game changers and well positioned to speak on their journeys and promote modalities of wellness, so they'll be isolated on the Wineglass Ranch."
They're hoping to raise $50,000 to give the old home a face lift.
The retreat is located at the historic Wineglass Ranch which is just eight km's south of downtown Cochrane, situated on the banks of the Jumping Pound Creek.
The property has been provided by the Eklund family, who are fifth generation owners and operators of the Wineglass Ranch.
For more information about the retreat you can email firstname.lastname@example.org