Nenana Wellness Coalition
November 4, 2014
ELECTION DAY—MAKE SURE TO VOTE
The Nenana Wellness Coalition is an alliance of representatives from various organizations, government agencies, community groups and individuals that meets weekly to discuss, evaluate, coordinate, consolidate, celebrate , masticate and help implement plans for improving the wellness and quality of life in Nenana Alaska.
We had six participants today: Jessica Durtsche, Kat McElroy, Virginia Young, Nancy Theirmeier, Tara and Tim Horn.
We enjoyed ham and red bean soup, and carrot, acorn squash & raisin salad for lunch.
WELCOME and READING OF MISSION STATEMENT: By this week’s chairperson, Tim Horn, followed by the PRAYER and The
PRESENTATION OF AGENDA AND CALL FOR MODIFICATIONS: There were three items added to the agenda.
MINUTES: No minutes were taken last week, nor posted at the WIN link at http://www.railbelt.org or submitted electronically to the WIN e-list.
INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: No new guests this week.
Envisioning Wellness: Kat suggested that as we have had dozens of speakers present to WIN as a whole regarding their visions for wellness, it might be interesting to set time for a group discussion to explore some of our individual ideas about wellness. The goal would be to seek commonalities. It was suggested that ground rules may need to be set to facilitate an orderly discussion. Tara suggested using “agreements” rather than “rules” and volunteered to present on some agreements that might be useful. She will do this presentation next week, November 11th. Tim will make flyers inviting the public to participate; Kat will print and ask Miles to post. One recommendation was to set aside a few minutes each meeting for people to do a wellness check-in.
Adapting the Agenda: Per our previous and ongoing discussions about changing the agenda for our WIN meetings, Tim facilitated a dialogue about deleting the prayer and the pledge of allegiance from our agenda format. Jessica reiterated that she has no feelings one way or another, change or stay the same. Tara’s concern is that the format as it is imposes the conventions of the ruling class upon others. It does not feel egalitarian. Virginia said that at this time she would be interested in trying it differently, no prayer, no pledge, for awhile and then re-evaluate after some time. Virginia voiced the feeling that any ritual done merely by rote loses meaning over time. Tim said she wants no cause for disunity. If enough people feel it would be better to change the agenda, she has no problem with that.. She suggested maybe we should poll participants at WIN over time, a couple of weeks, to get consensus opinion. Nancy said she would want our process to be relevant to the community. Why are we praying, are we a religious body? Tim interjected that starting meetings in Nenana, especially any involving food, historically have begun with prayer, it seems to be a cultural or community norm. Jessica suggested that the meetings could start with just a moment of silence. Kat mentioned that many AA meetings are begun with a moment of silence “to reflect on why we are here,” She said what she doesn’t want is to set into motion any dynamic that is goi8ng to become divisive. Her belief about wellness is that it is about creating connections between people. Discussion ensued regarding perceptions about WIN and barriers to creating a sense of community. Tara thinks there is already a perception in Nenana that WIN is a group of people with a set agenda to change people to be like them. Jessica wonders how to focus on what we have in common. Just the language of “wellness”, Virginia suggests, implies there is a “sickness” to be overcome. Tim asks how is it possible to communicate if people have strongly held preconceived ideas.
Ultimately it was decided that we would survey as many WIN members as possible over the next four weeks to work towards a consensus of the body as a whole. We seem to have four basic ideas: 1) to keep the agenda as is; 2) to forego the prayer and pledge portions of the agenda for our meetings; 3) to replace the prayer and pledge with a simple Moment of Silence; 4) cease using the prayer and pledge portions of the agenda and reassess in three months times to see if participants thoughts or feelings have shifted over time. Kat will make poll or survey forms for tally and inform WIN at large via the e-list that this process is being put into place.
Reviving the Sing-alongs: Kat mentioned that she has obtained a ukulele and is learning a few chords. Tara said she also has a ukulele and knows three chords. Nancy said that she would like to see a community choral ensemble to meet on a regular basis. She feels it would benefit herself and others to develop their “voices,” that it would help her in other areas of communication as well. This engendered a conversation about the community sing-alongs WIN members hosted several years ago. They had weekly gatherings to make music, sing, share and learn new songs. Because of scheduling conflicts, over time, it became a monthly affair, and then sadly, slowly, ceased altogether. To revive sing-alongs or organize a choral group or ukulele band, we would need to find a venue for the activity. It was suggested that our annual Thanksgiving dinner might be a good place to start out to see if there is wider interest in group music making. We did this several years ago and it was very successful. Tara and Nancy discussed meeting this week, perhaps Friday, to discuss this further. Tara said she would ask Rebecca if this would fit with the plan for the Thanksgiving event this year.
Health Fair 2015: Tim said that Jeannie Bennet has gotten a phone call from the Fairbanks chapter of Alaska Health Fairs, Inc., and that we need to set a date for our Nenana Health Fair by the end of the month. It will be held this year at Nenana City Public School and will focus on youth health issues. Jeannie will coordinate with Susan Kauffman at the school to identify a date in March that would work for us. Kat will generate begging letters to the Ice Classic.
WELLNESS THOUGHT: Walk the good, red path of wellness. Don Coyhis
Tara: Global warming is ruining her life and she is still stuck on this side of the river because the water has not frozen yet so she can get home. She broke up with her I-phone and bought an Android. Now she doesn’t have FaceBook in her pocket anymore and she got her brain back.
Virginia: Is settling down and getting unpacked into her new home. Her renters are leaving; they may be back to do more owl on the bridge come Spring. This is her last week working at the school. The school will be posting a job position for a payroll clerk.
Tim: Don’t forget to vote today. Tomorrow, Wednesday the 5th, will be the Fall Concert at the school, in the gym, K-12, 6:30 PM. Thursday there will be a LNG Project Report community meeting at the tribal hall, 6-8 PM.
The Baha’i will hold a holiday to celebrate the birth of the founder of their religion. November 12th, Tacos at Noon, at Bonnie Reed’s house.
November 14 and 15th will be the Ice Cream Classic basketball tournament at Nenana City Public School.
Nancy: Yoga class continues at 10 AM every Monday and Wednesday, at Meda Lord Senior Housing. The instructor is Hannah Barkey. The next meeting of the Nenana Book Club will be At Nancy’s out on Four Mile. Call 371-7079 for directions. They are reading a book of poetry: American Primitive.
Kat: She and Jessica had an interesting experience attending the Alaska Behavioral Health Association meeting last week on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was their first chance to meet the new director for the Division of Behavioral Health, Al Wall, who spoke for several hours outlining his plan to utilize collaboration across domains to absorb the several million dollars of projected funding cuts to behavioral health without losing quality or quantity of the services needed. The discussion was intense.