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A group home contest leads to a love of nature

By Matt Barbieri | Residential Supervisor for Aptus Treatment Centre

In the lead-up to the Aptus Teaching Landscape being launched in the fall, Aptus challenged its 9 group homes to get outside and spruce up their yards and gardens – with a $500 prize for the winning house to go on a community outing of their choice.

As Aptus’ newest residential supervisor, this contest was one of my first big endeavours. Everyone at our house was excited about the prize, but we all agreed the important part would be to create a clean, beautiful outdoor living space to enjoy. We got working!

Our house’s staff team itemized all the jobs we could do to make the most of our yard and shared these ideas with our residents:

  • ·         raking sticks and leaves
  • ·         purchasing flowers and furniture
  • ·         taking garbage to the dump
  • ·         digging up the garden
  • ·         planting flowers

The 7 adults living in our home immediately began volunteering to rake, collect garbage and so much more! The enthusiasm to join in and help was heartwarming. Then, the work we all did on the yard together helped to create this sense of togetherness and pride in our shared yard that was truly inspiring.

Now this doesn’t mean we didn’t have our share of challenges. It is often difficult to motivate the residents of our home to complete basic chores. Then we were having trouble getting some residents to come outside, as they preferred to be inside relaxing. But once these residents saw some of their peers and staff outside working hard, they were motivated to join in. Working together in nature did so much to build comradery between the residents, and they really revelled in their accomplishments. Here is one of our greatest transformations – a new flowerbed!

As nice as it was to win a prize, the best part of this whole contest for me was to see everyone sitting at the picnic table, enjoying a snack under the sun in their newly renovated yard. They were out in nature and have continued to be outside more ever since this project with a real sense of pride and stewardship in the plants and flowers around them.

We look forward to working together again in the Aptus Teaching Landscape! And we also look forward to using our prize money to go to African Lion Safari and have a bouncy castle BBQ in our backyard!

Learn more about the Aptus Teaching Landscape!  
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