<![CDATA[BAM Community - BAM Blog]]>Mon, 18 Mar 2019 15:06:56 +1100Weebly<![CDATA[National Shame, Local Blame]]>Sun, 17 Mar 2019 10:16:45 GMThttp://bamcommunity.com.au/bamcommunitycomau-766103/national-shame-local-blameHEARNE'S LAKE CESSPIT
Photograph by Brodie Matheson … thanks Brodie. This photograph was taken of a group of concerned locals who gathered to discuss the crisis facing our local Hearne’s Lake waterways.

I was born in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

I am lucky to still be living in this place on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. It is a mixture of beach and bush. 

I walk the back beach to get to Hearne’s Lake. Hearne’s Lake opens up to the Pacific Ocean at Flat Top Rock. When my children were little we use to picnic here at Hearne’s Lake. We would swim in the calm and clean water.

It is not safe to swim there now. The vegetation is dying. The fish are dying. There are regular algae blooms. 

This is not a new problem. In 2008, the NSW Department of Primary Industries with the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority published ‘The Soil and Water Management Practices for Blueberry growers in Northern NSW. 

YES, you did read the right … in 2008!

Nearly 11 years ago the potential for ecological damage to the natural environment was identified. It was studied and best practice guidelines were developed.

Check the best practice guideline 2008 here:


Woolgoolga is traditionally banana farming country. The blueberry industry was introduced during the late 1990’s.
Here is another report that outlines the horticultural practices in our area compiled by Regional Development Australia. Find it here:
Interestingly, on p17, it is highlighted that

"The Woolgoolga area is likely to come under increasing public pressure from environmental and resident groups as the scrutiny of specific farm practices increases and this monitoring is made public. Chemical trespass (overspray), boundary management and worker accommodation are likely to attract increasing controversy in this area. The knock-on effect of this type of public scrutiny is that the overall industry is seen in the same light with larger farms located well away from populated areas also being questioned about farm practices. "

And yet, little is being “done” about this gross abuse of our natural waterways.


The article states that NSW produces over 90% of the Australian crop of berries. This equates to an estimated $250000000 market (p12). Without a doubt berry farming is a profitable industry.

Compliance Issues 

Currently there are two compliance issues with the increasing berry farms in the Coffs Harbour / Woolgoolga area. These are the farms that use high levels of poisons being established near residential areas and schools. The community is becoming increasingly concerned and the farmers are becoming increasingly unsure of the future of their businesses.

The second issue is water pollution that results from the run off from pesticides used in berry farming.

Farmers are critical of the review process. On page 14 of the document it is clear that regulation enforcement  is questionable:

"Concerns relate to an approach where, some years after prosecution for illegal practice, farms still operate and grow blueberries without addressing the illegal practice such as native vegetation clearing or dam-building on creeks without permission.This can lead to diminishment of the industry’s reputation and outcry from other farmers and the community. Enforcement of vegetation and water management is seen as an ongoing and longer-term issue."
From the report compiled by Regional Development Australia, these graphs represent the importance of the berry industry. Find it here:

There are numerous reports and numerous studies that have been done to assess the damage to our once pristine waterways. 

For example: https://www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/environment/our-coast/Documents/Bucca%20Bucca%20Water%20Quality%20Report%20SCU.pdf

And yet there seems to be little concern by the local council or local government  to address the damage being done now!

I do not understand how any community member – farmer or resident can let this continue. And yet we do.

Not only is the run off from berry farms killing our environment, evidence is growing to relate disease to pesticides. AND COFFS HARBOUR IS A HOTSPOT.

Coffs Harbour has been identified as a “hotspot” for Motor Neuron Disease! This article states that scientists are investigating a link to pesticides, metals and blue-green algae toxins to increased risks of contracting MND. Studies in the US have found that certain pesticides have an impact. 

Read the article here: 


There is an outstanding amount of evidence that Coffs Harbour / Woolgoolga farming is killing our waterways and hurting our population.

The evidence has been around for a significant amount of time.

Trees are dying.

Fish are dying.

People are getting sick.

Algae blooms are abundant.

How long are we going to wait? How much damage needs to happen before this is addressed effectively? 

As a Coffs Harbour resident I feel angry. Not only is Coffs Harbour a hotspot with the shameful state of the highway (currently holding the title as the "WORST SECTION of the PACIFIC HIGHWAY IN AUSTRALIA") we are also poisoning our waterways. The long term effects of this negligent is truly frightening - for our land and our people. This is a crisis that brings a national shame, and blame lays fairly on us locally.
  • This article talks about the rapid growth of the blueberry industry and the established link between blueberry farming and nitrogen runoff. The recommendation was for site-specific management approaches to reduce farm nitrogen runoff, and the assessment of potential impacts of blueberry nitrogen runoff to downstream habitats such as estuaries and the Solitary Islands Marine Park. 
  • Solutions to these problems are clearly outlined here.
  • Best Practice Guidelines
<![CDATA[A Good Life]]>Mon, 11 Mar 2019 21:19:20 GMThttp://bamcommunity.com.au/bamcommunitycomau-766103/a-good-lifeLiving a conscious life
The messages I get when walking.

Last Friday, on International Womens Day, a group of us said our final good-bye to an awe-inspiring woman. 

We stopped, took a breath, then joined a rather large community in grief. Grief is such a strange thing. It is fiercely independent and personal, and yet, communal. Grief makes me review my life, my purpose and my plan. 

Strangely, grief makes me assess my own trials. Grief makes me think deeper.

My first thought is usually that I do not deserve to feel the sadness that I feel because there is always someone who knew the person I have lost better, or more deeply. 

She had such a big family who shared big love. She was gracious and generous. 

Grief is difficult to rationalize. Who can make sense from this mix of emotions when they are on that journey? 


My first year as a teacher was so much fun! I had graduated from University as a mature aged student with a young family of my own. My eldest child Emily start primary school the year I did (but I was a teacher).

Emily became friends with another shy little girl starting “big” school too. They spent the next few years in the same class.
Two of her older sisters were in my class over the next two years. They were both active, beautiful, intelligent, popular and funny children.

During the first week of class, during my first year as a teacher a number of incidents occurred with some of the students in my class. I can’t even remember what was going on, but I decided to deal with the situation before things got out of hand. After talking with the children, I contact their parents to let them know what was going on. I wanted to be a teacher who built relationships on open and honest conversations. 

I called my daughter’s friend’s mum. Mum answered. I explained the situation. She explained that she had just opened a bottle of champagne because her last child (the ninth child) went to school on the bus today and she had no more kids at home all day. 

I decided on that phone call that I wanted to be friends with her. And that we did.

My friend had a wonderful mix of compassion, care and fun. She lived simply. She loved big. She lived love. She was happy.
Her legacy is inspired love and commitment to family, community and people. Her legacy is in owning her vulnerabilities and unashamedly owning who she was. Her strength of character is the legacy that we will remember forever.


The finality of death is severe. 

At the service on Friday, the community were asked if anyone wanted to share their stories of our friend. 
I wish I had, but I didn’t. My mind has been ticking over ever since. I have been reminiscing about this miraculous woman and everything she had achieved in her seemingly short life. There have been many “ah ha” moments, a few tears, a review of my life and my of legacy. 

It is in my grief that I review me. What will my legacy be? 


David Kesslersays that grief is the price we pay for love. Think about that. 

Is it worth it? 

Would you forgo love because of grief?

David Kessler defines grief as:
… the internal part of loss, how we feel. The internal work of grief is a process, a journey. It does not end on a certain day or date. It is as individual as each of us. Grief is real because loss is real. Each grief has its own imprint, as distinctive and as unique as the person we lost. The pain of loss is so intense, so heartbreaking, because in loving we deeply connect with another human being, and grief is the reflection of the connection that has been lost.


The most powerful people in life are not necessarily the richest. Sometimes the most powerful people are those humble souls who are unaware of their power and influence. Their richness exists in who they are and the person they choose to be.
My friend was a woman who always had time for others. She was aware of her needs and cared for herself as well as others. She taught her family and those around her to live a good life. She was wise and able to help people “course correct” when their lives veered off track. She was generous. She was kind and compassionate. She was a strong woman who chose to live life from a high consciousness. 

Our planet has lost a beautiful soul. My friend taught many people, many lessons. She loved openly and unconditionally. Her legacy is a legacy of love.

I wonder what my legacy will be?
<![CDATA[I Have a Community Dream]]>Mon, 04 Mar 2019 12:22:30 GMThttp://bamcommunity.com.au/bamcommunitycomau-766103/i-have-a-community-dream

From: http://www.wncw.org/post/monday-january-15th-music-inspired-dr-martin-luther-king-jr

​I have a dream that one day community will be a place where members engage, respect and support each other and people live longer and happier because they are valued as important individuals. I have a dream that one day loneliness will no longer kill innocent souls who find themselves disabled by cognitive, physical or social decline.
 “Respect is how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.” Richard Branson
I have a dream that my parents and older relatives and friends are able to live longer and live well because there is absolutely no point in living longer without living well. I have a dream … I have a dream that one day care is a collective challenge that drives innovative solutions that are not confined by age or ability.
I have a dream that all people live together similar to the street you grew up in where we help our neighbours as their circumstance change and they help us when our circumstance changes. I dream of a time when older people are not locked behind the gates of an over 55’s living space but rather of a place where they are actively engaged in contributing to the community – where young people learn from older people and older people help the younger ones live. 
I have a dream that people living in community take responsibility for running the community, they design the rules and make changes when challenges arise. I have a dream that people are accepted for who they are and not judged for being rich or for being poor, for being old or for being young, for being married or not. I have a dream of a community that is composed of different people living and loving life together, but independently, living a co-independent lifestyle.
I have a dream that a built environment creates a community feeling where the collective community is responsible for sharing meals and time regularly, in a community kitchen and recreational area. I have a dream that builds connection through community.
I have scrounged the structure of a famously powerful speech scribed in the history books by a famously passionate change maker.
Dr Martin Luther King was a passionate social activist during the 1950-60’s. He was assassinated in 1968 for his dreams. Dr King made an extraordinary contribution not only to the American community but to the world. He has played a key role as an inspiring social activist and visionary. He was an educated and stimulating speaker who was able to clearly articulate his vision of a kinder and more inclusive world. 
Our world has changed since Dr King’s day but we still need to mindfully review how we can do community better.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics data has identified that men aged over 85 have the highest suicide rate in Australia. This is more than double that of teenagers – and that number is frightening!
Monash University Professor Paul Komesaroff said a lack of support was partly to blame for poor mental health in many older Australians.
Click here to read the article. 
It will make you think.
It has me thinking. There has to be a better way to care for older people, younger people and all people.
I have a dream that one day community will be a place where members engage, respect and support each other and people live longer and happier because they are valued as important individuals.
How can we care better?
<![CDATA[Warrior Stories: "That Girl" by Theresa Hatton]]>Tue, 26 Feb 2019 11:59:32 GMThttp://bamcommunity.com.au/bamcommunitycomau-766103/warrior-stories-that-girl-by-theresa-hatton

27th February 1969.

This is the date of a car accident in which a young girl's life (who was nearly 18yrs old) changed in a split second, forever. 
I became a C6 Quadriplegic. 

Now, before you feel sad for this girl's life to be forever wheelchair bound... Allow me to take you on just a few of her many positive life journeys over the last 50 years with her trusty Chariots.

The night of the accident must have been the most heart breaking time for my parents. They were the most supportive and unselfish people. I was so very lucky to have them in my life at the time.

I spent 9 months in the Spinal Unit in the Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney. During that time, I worked very hard to regain whatever strength and movement I could so that I could live the next journey in life as independently as possible. 

My friends and relatives were wonderful. Not one day past without a visit from at least one person encouraging me (I was very stubborn as I never let myself believe that I would never walk again which was a good mindset for me to be in - I think as it made me work harder).

After leaving hospital I went home to live life to the fullest with my parents.

In 1976 a lovely man came into my life and after a most unexpected marriage proposal from Denis (and me trying to talk him out of a life with me!) I eventually said yes. We married in 1977. So, another exciting journey in that girl's life began.

We moved from Sydney and built a purpose built home in the beautiful Tweed Valley. In 1981 I gave birth to our son!

My husband and I spent 36 wonderful years together until he passed away with cancer 5 years ago.
This was the unexpected journey – me, disabled and alone. 

Our wonderful son helped us both through Denis' last months and then me deciding where I go from there...

I decided to look into Aged Care Residences, near my son in QLD. I am so pleased that I made this decision and have lived in a lovely caring Facility for nearly 4 years... 

Yes, my journey isn't over yet! I have 24 hour care.  Plus, with the help of my Chariot, I go shopping, visit the movies and have many visitors from friends new and old (especially my lovely classmates).

On this 50th Anniversary of what could have been a depressing life, I feel very blessed to have had such a wonderful life with much travel and love along the way.

It has been sad at times but I always, at least, tried to focus on the good times and believe me, the good far outweigh the daunting ones.

I won't bore you with the other parts of my journey yet...

It's a Happy 50th Anniversary to that Girl! 

<![CDATA[CARE FORCE RESILIENCE: The second part]]>Mon, 25 Feb 2019 21:25:32 GMThttp://bamcommunity.com.au/bamcommunitycomau-766103/care-force-resilience-the-second-part
This Photo is credit to me - and my phone - Last time I was in New York City!
FOSTER A RESILIENT CARE-FORCE PART 11Teaching Resilience in the Care-Force?

What does resilience look like in the care-setting.
It is the worker who keeps turning up. It is the elderly resident who has lost function and family but keeps smiling. Resilience is dealing with grief and loss on a daily basis. It is managing money and finances. It is maintaining standards. It is improving what we do and how we do. Resilience is turning up, supporting ourselves and others and doing the best job that we can do. Resilience is learning from our mistakes and owning our vulnerability.
When a man is pushed, tormented, defeated, he has a chance to learn something”.
R.W. Emerson
Not all workplaces or workers are resilient. 
BUT resilience can be learned and should be supported.
In the care setting, this can be realised by incorporating some crucial facets to the workplace such as:
  • Safe and stable physical environment 
  • Psychologically safe and stable space including job security
  • Supportive workplace relationships and a sense of community
  • Nurture a sense of belonging and identification
  • Promoting prosocial behaviour
  • Provide opportunities for learning and skill-building – this encourages decision making and planning
  • Build social and cultural integration of home and work life ie shifts that value family, personal and work success
Promoting Resilience in Care Services
Different strokes for different folks. A one size fits all approach to adult learning will never work. The ‘antie’ increases when talking about resilience.
Resilience can be built within the care-force through implementing a number of different activities. This approach can be easily modified to suit the needs of the workplace and the workforce.
Essentially, there are six steps that assist the educator plan effective resilience building skills and behaviours within the care-force. Think about:
  1. Determine which psychological skill would be most useful for your care service community.
  2. Make sure you use a language that aligns with the general vocabulary of the care community. This ensures everyone is on the same page and understands clear what is expected. 
  3. Start a discussion on the concept or skill using relevant examples that the people can relate to and would feel at ease discussing
  4. Be clear about what you perceive the outcome will look like. 
  5. Maintain effective and open communication. 
  6. Reward workers who demonstrate a clear understanding of the significance of the concept. We all love rewards – and the cheapest reward you can give is to acknowledge people. Stay positive when acknowledging the efforts of others. 
If positivity is not your natural state of mind, do not despair! It is just a thought and thoughts can change.
 “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” Willie Nelson
It all starts with you.
  • You can control your thoughts  but while you are learning this skill start by controlling what you say out loud. 
  • Practise giving positive responses eg “Wow, that was a really good job. You must have worked really hard to be able to achieve this.”
  • Encourage workers to be self-reflective by asking 
    • “What have you learned today?”
    • What mistake did you make that you learned from?
    • What were you persistent at today?
    • What can you learn from this?
    • What will you do the next time you are in this situation?
These types of questions help care professionals to gain insight into their experiences and to keep track of their progress. Self-reflection is an invaluable quality in a care worker. Learning to consistently reflect on what they can do in order to improve their performance over time manages improvement continuously. Staff who develop a sense of self-worth and value within the workplace grow value to theory workplace.

Being able to communicate, think and plan ahead of time builds team work. Team work is essential to maintain a harmonious workplace. When the workplace is not so harmonious, being able to communicate, think and plan help rebuild the team.
There will always be crakes. We cannot have success if there is not failure. Having a resilient care-force means that workers feel valued for their contribution and are actively engage in critical reflection and continuous improvement that promotes personal, professional and business success. This is important if the business is in the business of care.
I am passionate about building our CARE-FORCE. I work with small to medium size care service providers to develop programs that suit their business.

Who do you know?

CALL now and COLLABORATE with me.

<![CDATA[Fostering Resilience in our CARE-FORCE]]>Wed, 20 Feb 2019 04:42:08 GMThttp://bamcommunity.com.au/bamcommunitycomau-766103/fostering-resilience-in-our-care-force

The most important skill that care-service leaders should share with staff is resilience.

The workforce becomes a care-force.

But resilience is not simple to teach. Imbedding resilience into the care-force is beyond rote learning, lecturing or policy and procedures. Resilience learning has to be relevant, meaningful, engaging, and challenging.

The process of becoming a resilient care-force starts with the individual worker who has developed a firm set of beliefs about himself, the workplace and his place in the workplace.
The worker is knowledgeable about their worth and capability. This means not just understanding the vision and mission of a workplace but being a part of it. 

Resilient Care-Force
Few workplace behaviours and attitudes are acquired in isolation.

‘Man is by nature, a social animal.’     Aristotle
Workplace beliefs, behaviours, and attitudes are shaped by or within the workplace. The stories told within the workplace often determine a worker’s perspective.  What is perceived is seen to be within the realm of reality and possibility.
Thus, how the workplace is perceived impacts the attitudes and behaviours of the social network at work.
The culture of the workplace will impact workplace attitude and behaviours. The care culture should be driving your care-force. The expectation of high standards should be matched by the implementation of high standards. The care-force is obligated to demonstrate care values to the people the work with and the people they work for. This expectation of care attitudes and behaviours becomes a buffer against adverse circumstances, maximising workers well-being, success and happiness. This impacts the care service.
The expectation of care attitudes and behaviours need to be cultivated. 
There needs to be balance of explicit understanding and clear direction. If the policy and procedures are in place and practised, the perceived control of managers can be loosened, trusting that front line managers have the skills, attitudes and behaviours to do their job.

Care-force should not be ‘over-managed’. The helicopter manager can create workplace stress and anxiety through taking away the care-workers sense of responsibility and worth.

Care-force community plays a pivotal role in workplace development. The fundamentals of care-force development are found in building a skillset that builds resilience through building the workplace community.

This is within a framework of resilience that employs workplace specific knowledge and skill. Care-force development is grounded within a context of achievement, growth  and supportive competition for care organisations to build attitudes and practices. It is about building a team – not replacing old staff with new staff. 

Like the Japanese art of Kintsugi, building a team means that we start with something that is not perfect, and we appreciate the beauty and uniqueness that comes from that.
Characteristics of Care-Force Resilience

Resilience can be acquired within a workforce. It is cultural and social rather than fixed. Building resilience with the care-force targets:
  • Social competence and pro-social values
  • Optimism
  • A sense of purpose or hope for the future
  • An attachment to work environment
  • Problem-solving skills
  • An effective coping style
  • A sense of self-efficacy
  • A positive self-image, and image of the workplace. (reduces negative aspects such as gossiping)
An ability to develop positive bonds within the care-force, manage small challenges, trust one’s capacity to deal with responsibility, having a positive outlook of work and life, showing an emotional attachment to one’s relatives as well as to the social framework of the workplace, are key characteristics of a care-force that are resilient. They can manage change and implement improvement.