OC Connections Day Support Program provides a multitude of activities for participants to take part in throughout the year. The aim of the program is to assist our participants to develop life skills, confidence, social skills, team work, independence as well as extend their knowledge in new ways.
Lawn bowls at the Mount Waverley Bowling Club is an example of this. For anyone passing the club on a Wednesday morning, the OCC group may look like any other group of beginners learning how to play the game. However, according to Graham Furman, Team Leader – Day Supports, the group are building a passion for the game while they develop their independence, social etiquette and team work. It is also a sign of commitment as they arrive eager to play on a frosty Melbourne Winter morning.
As they wait for everyone to arrive, participants enjoy a coffee and biscuit, warming themselves up before they head out in the frost. Joined by Graham, fellow Day Support Worker, Tina and volunteer Shoko, participants start with a meditative walk around the green, taking in the fresh air, sounds of birds singing and literally smelling the roses. A few stretching exercises to music and a display of tai-chi from David gets the group prepared before they head off in pairs to bowl.
Sometimes, like today, the group play for fun, learning to take turns, changing ends and working out which bowls belong to who while finessing their style. Other times, Graham has each participant keep score and teaches them how to use the scoreboards to extend their skills. On wet days, they play indoors on carpet set up by the club.
According to Graham, Marina’s knowledge of the game is outstanding and she has a skill of being able to work out who is closest to the jack just by look. David is working on speeding up his game, while Richard has an interest in working the scoreboards. Both Craig and Colin seem to be old hands at the game and discuss each ball as it is bowled. Craig decides he’s closest to the Jack on this day.
The group have been a welcome addition to the Bowling Club. Committee member, Ian McLean, says the Club sees this as an opportunity for the participants to become part of the community. Graham hopes that eventually members will play with the participants and that the participants will feel comfortable to attend other events held at the Bowls Club.
Participants have developed a passion for the game and want to improve each week. Richard even talks about getting a trophy and becoming a member. Many of the participants have family who bowl and take pride in being able to discuss the game with them. Kathy has even brought in bowls from her family members to show the group.
At the end of their session they watch the members play with interest while critiquing and applauding the skills.