Using Nature to Broaden Horizons

Using Nature to Broaden Horizons

The Broadening Horizons course takes young women from Bidwell on regular bushwalking and camping trips with some informal mentors over the course of a year. The program uses nature to give young people a unique experience. It culminates in the six-day world famous Overland Track in Tasmania.

Rev. Dr Mel Macarthur and Bec Reidy have both been involved in running Broadening Horizons in past years.

Rev. Dr Macarthur and Ms Reidy will talk about the program as part of the Climate Pastoral Training event on Tuesday, 28 May. The event provides training in a unique aspect of pastoral care.

Ms Reidy joined a previous hike in 2018, which is the subject of an upcoming short film. She told Insights that the hike had been challenging.

“They struggled being away from family and not having access to the internet and phone coverage, ” she said.

“It was great though, they were all very proud of themselves and some of the girls that we least expected to do well really stood up and surprised us all. One of the mums said that her daughter came back a changed person.”

“Since then, we have supported some of them to go on other hikes with equipment, which means they have gone on with the hiking independenly of us which is very exciting for us.”

Rev. Dr Macarthur is a retired Uniting Church minister and a highly experienced hiker. Ms Reidy is a community development practitioner who works out of Bidwill Uniting Church.

Rev. Dr Macarthur is an experienced hiker and has embarked on several pilgrimages, including a bike ride he undertook to Jerusalem in 2007.

“My pilgrimages have all brought change in me in one way or another,” Rev. Dr Macarthur said.

“A period of deep reflection and deep connection with other people sharing the long journey tend to both influence and inform me. Sometimes it can be transformative.”

A film about a previous hike is also already available to watch online. In 2016, filmmaker Daisy Montalvo filmed the progress of four young women who were involved in the trek. The final result was a 35-minute film that released in July 2017. The film provides a picture of what it’s like growing up in  Bidwill and depicts four young women challenging themselves on a tough trek through rain, snow, and heavy wind.

“They experienced the worst conditions that I have experienced at this time [of year],” Rev. Dr Macarthur says during the film.

For more on the Climate Pastoral Training event, visit the event’s Facebook page.

For more information on the Broadening Horizons course, visit the project’s website here.

Daisy Montalvo’s film can be viewed here.

Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor

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