By Jimmy Holbeck | Classic Wallabies Player Welfare Manager
Over the last weekend, three Classic Wallabies who have recently finished playing, accepted an invitation to travel to the Snowy Mountains and undergo a Men’s mental health initiative, called The Fly Program.
The Fly Program is an adventure retreat where men discover new places, whether through lure and fly fishing in this iconic trout fishing region, or exploring epic alpine wilderness locations either on foot or a mountain bike. These settings can create powerful platforms to talk, support and educate participants. This program is not a clinical intervention but has aspects of mental fitness built into its structure, which feels more organic than sitting indoors trying to understand how to apply positive mental skills. As a psychologist friend often says…“Men prefer to talk shoulder-to-shoulder than they do face-to-face”.
It is a program already successfully adopted by the entire 2019 ACT Brumbies squad as part of its pre-season preparation, and the Australian Under 20s squad ahead of their successful Oceania Rugby Championship campaign.
On the first night we built a fire in the rain and cooked up a tender slab of local beef. We talked about “stuff” while staring deep into the flames as the snow fell on the mountains high above us. The next day we tried our hand at the skill of fly fishing as we stood thigh deep in the might of the Thredbo River as it flowed through the Thredbo Valley. Later, we ventured up through the snow to Porcupine Rocks for a vantage point overlooking the same valley and much of the Snowy Mountains region, to gain a different perspective of the morning’s location.
There were mental fitness aspects woven into each of the experiential activities, which built a participant’s sense of what’s important to them. One of the program’s focuses: how to be a process-driven man.
We are in-debt to Matt Tripet, the facilitator of the program, for his genuineness in seeking to help men needing the perspective that perhaps only a wilderness experience can provide. Congratulations to the participants for their willingness to try something completely foreign and for contributing to what was a powerful few days.
Watch the video below for a snippet of the weekend’s activities – the hike to Porcupine Rocks in Kosciusko National Park near Perisher.