Aurora Medical Center in Washington County and Aurora Medical Center in Grafton co-lead an Active Parks initiative in partnership with Froedtert, the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department, the West Bend Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, and the Port Washington Parks and Recreation Department to offer outdoor mental wellness programs for 8 weeks in summer 2019. Although planning was well underway, the summer 2020 program sessions were unfortunately cancelled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each 2019 Active Parks class session encouraged use of municipal parks and wellness education topics over the last two summers included aromatherapy, guided walks, meditation and yoga, among others. This joint initiative welcomed over 100 participants total during the eight sessions offered in summer 2019. Session locations varied but they were always held outdoors in a West Bend or Port Washington city park.
The Active Parks program falls under the Cultivate Wellness coalition and uses a public health framework to promote mental health and to eliminate stigma surrounding mental illness, while also supporting growing communities’ resiliency. In addition to leading planning efforts, Aurora team members also shared responsibilities with the other partners involved to facilitate the sessions.