One client in particular stands out in Lindsay Hooton’s memory.
In her role as a recreational therapist with Fraser Health, Hooton is focused on helping clients learn and practice a new skill, increase their self-confidence, their self-esteem and to provide opportunities for them to socialize and practice team work.
This particular young lady was in tears when she came off the water.
“She told me ‘These are not sad tears; I have never once in my life not had anxiety and for the first time I could ever remember, I was calm,’” Hooton recalled of her conversation.
Seven years ago, Fraser Health, through Surrey Mental Health and Youth Services, partnered with Power For All Adventure Therapy Society, a Langley-based charitable organization which focuses on providing access to activities for all clients, including those with physical, cognitive or social disabilities.
Eight years ago, there were 16 clients and Power For All did a couple of Saturday sessions, explained Alex Thompson, the organization’s executive director.
She is also an occupational therapist.
That first year, the group was helped by the Fort Langley Canoe Club, which allowed them space to store their equipment. By the third year, Power For All had moved across to Brae Island, with the help of Fort Camping.
Power For All now offers roughly 80 sessions, twice a week from July to mid-October.
They offer services for children, youth and adults, and are not exclusive to only those with mental health issues.
They also spend the fall and winter months going into group homes and doing adaptive Zumba.
Hooton said the program is perfect for people dealing with high anxiety, social anxiety and depression as this gets them out of the house and interacting with others.
Chad, a 29-year-old from Surrey who has Schizoaffective disorder, found a big difference in how he felt when he first got on the water.
Schizoaffective disorder is when a person experiences a combination of hallucinations or delusions, and mood disorder symptoms, such as depression.
“It is peaceful out there and it helps me focus on slowing things down a bit,” he explained.
“It is physically healthy and mentally healthy. It goes hand in hand.”
Relying heavily on donations, Power For All is hosting their annual fundraiser on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Rusty’s Pub (17770 56 Ave.).
The event runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and tickets cost $20, which includes a burger, fries and choice of drink.
The group is aiming to raise $5,000 and any donation of $20 or more will receive a tax receipt. They are also accepting donations for prizes and auction items.