Mood Walks promotes the development of new partnerships among social service agencies, hiking clubs, conservation areas and other green spaces both urban and rural, post-secondary institutions and community organizations to create opportunities for capacity building and long-term sustainability.
Interested in becoming a community partner? Read on to find out how your organization could benefit by partnering with a Mood Walks group!
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Benefits and Supports
Walking groups are valuable tools for mental health service providers, benefitting clients, families, staff, organizations, and communities. Your expertise, resources, and knowledge about your community, the natural environment and hiking could be of great benefit to a Mood Walks group!
Partnership benefits and support include:
- Increasing Usage of trails, conservation areas, and other green spaces
- Introducing young people and families to conservation, hiking, trail associations and outreach activities
- Raising Awareness and increasing participation in community and provincial initiatives, including Conservation Ontario’s annual Healthy Hikes campaign
- Support in developing New Partnerships with local social service agencies, community organizations, Hike Ontario, Conservation Ontario, and the Canadian Mental Health Association
- Raising your Organization’s Profile and building capacity
- Highlighting the Health Benefits of conservation areas, parks and green spaces for all
- Access to the Mood Walks Website for additional resources and connections to the Mood Walks community
SUPPORT FROM LEAD ORGANIZATIONS
In addition to being responsible for hosting Mood Walks groups, Lead Organizations are encouraged to provide participating partners with guidance and support about engaging with youth who are at risk of, or experiencing, mental health issues. Support from Lead Organizations may include:
- Experience working with new and diverse groups of young people
- Knowledge of mental health services and supports available in your community
- Information about upcoming workshops or events that may be of interest to you
You will not be expected to be an expert in mental health to be part of Mood Walks, although your appreciation of mental health issues will likely increase as part of participating in a Mood Walks program!
Be a Mood Walks Partner
Mood Walks groups are led by local community organizations. Lead Organizations assume all leadership and responsibility for their group, especially regarding interactions with participants who may be experiencing mental health issues. For more information about hosting a Mood Walks program, download our Lead Organization Application Package at www.moodwalks.ca.
Local hiking clubs, parks and conservation areas, urban green space initiatives, schools, and other community partners are encouraged to establish lasting relationships with community agencies running a Mood Walks group. What these partnerships look like may vary from site to site as all partners work together to determine the best way to utilize each other’s strengths while respecting each partner’s available time and resources.
Here are some ways we envision you might partner or support a Mood Walks group:
HIKING CLUBS AND TRAIL ASSOCIATIONS
- Contribute your hiking knowledge and skills as a volunteer hike leader.
- Share your knowledge of local green spaces and hiking trails — give a presentation to the group, provide maps, recommend a hiking route, or volunteer your time to pre-walk a trail.
- Provide training — you may be able to teach Safe Hiker training or offer other learning opportunities for Mood Walks participants.
- Reduce or waive membership fees for Mood Walks participants to join your club.
PARKS, CONSERVATION AREAS AND OTHER GREEN SPACES
- Offer guidance for Lead Organizations about how your trails and green spaces could best be used by Mood Walks groups.
- Attend an information session for Mood Walks participants and share information about your organization, any activities it may offer, volunteer initiatives that participants could join, and information about local conservation or environmental issues.
- Share your resources — you may have a classroom space to offer a Mood Walks group when they hold their Safe Hiker training session.
- Provide discounted or free parking and admission to participants where budget allows.
- Attend walks as a supportive volunteer.
OTHER PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
- Be a Mood Walks sponsor — provide financial support to cover the cost of running a Mood Walks group or donate supplies (e.g., gently used or new hiking gear, snacks, etc.).
- Provide transportation — help Mood Walks participants get to and from hiking trails.
- Spread the word — if you are social media-savvy, you could promote the Mood Walks group using your website or Twitter account.
We are interested in your feedback about being part of Mood Walks every step of the way. You can reach the Project Manager at [email protected] at any point with questions, comments, or suggestions.
Who Can Be a Partner?
Any professional or volunteer organization or program that can offer support to a Mood Walks program is welcome to apply! Some examples might include:
- Conservation Areas or Ontario Parks
- Hiking Clubs or Trail Associations
- College or University Students
- Businesses or Community Organizations