WHAT IT IS: Our innovative Stroll for Well-Being Therapeutic Garden Walking program provides a full year of unlimited visits to Yume Japanese Gardens, for participants to immerse themselves in its natural beauty, peace and serenity and reflect upon personal experiences. The benefits of therapeutic walks in specifically Japanese garden settings for individuals suffering from stress, depression or mental exhaustion are research-supported and significant; participants report reduced feelings of sadness, hopelessness, fear and loneliness, and greater feelings of happiness and joy at the end of the program.
HOW IT WORKS: Garden strolls begin following an initial group meeting with a trained facilitator to acquaint participants with how the program works and the scientific research underpinning it. At that time also, participants are shown the layout of the route through the Gardens with programmed stops, and special guidebook/journals are distributed, with instructions on how to use them. There is likewise a discussion of what benefits you may reasonably expect to experience by faithfully keeping a journal and completing the program. Two other group meetings with the facilitator take place during an ensuing eight-week period. The first provides an opportunity to “check in” with participants, to provide them encouragement to continue the program, and to answer questions about their progress. The final meeting is to summarize results and — if participants wish — to share insights with each other.
The guidebook/journal presents several themed walks that identify points along the path through the Gardens at which to pause, reflect and experience a sense of ease. Walks are based on such themes as awareness, trust, possibility, joy and fulfillment, and are designed to elicit reflection on one’s life and to open an arena for emotional progress on pressing personal issues. Space in the guidebook/journal allows participants to record their thoughts on these and other topics. Although participants meet periodically as a group, they perform the walks as individuals proceeding each at his or her own pace, and they visit the Gardens as it is individually convenient for them to do so.
Participants in the program have unlimited opportunities for up to a year to visit Yume to leisurely stroll the garden path, and enjoy the peace and serenity that the Gardens has to offer. Strolling the Gardens is entirely a personal activity. Participants in the program may visit the Gardens at any time during regular opening hours as often as they wish, but are encouraged to visit at least twice a week during the first eight weeks.
WHO MAY BENEFIT: The program is aimed at persons of all ages experiencing emotional upset stemming from severe and chronic disorders such as substance abuse, major episodic depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder or from milder and more transitory setbacks such as grief, bereavement and sadness following a personal loss or a major life change, such as divorce, job loss, retirement, aging, or a life-threatening illness. Also welcome are members of support and self-help groups such as pet loss support groups, local branches of Alzheimer’s associations and Parkinsons’ foundations, hospices, stroke and cancer survivors groups, veterans groups, and domestic violence and women’s issues groups. If you are a caregiver or support group leader, counselor, or facilitator, you are invited to join as well.
WHAT IT COSTS: The regular price to enroll in the program is $240 per person. This includes a one-year family membership in Yume Japanese Gardens, valued at $65, a $35 guidebook and journal, and $140 for three facilitated class sessions. Persons who are already members of the Gardens pay $200.
We also offer a limited number of scholarships, which reduce the cost to $195. And we have a Basic program for individuals for $135, which includes one facilitated group session, a family membership, and the guidebook/journal. If you wish to enroll as a group of at least five associated people (with three facilitated group sessions) the cost is $150 per person.
All participants are required to have a membership, because the program requires them to visit the Gardens at least six and preferably eight or more times to do the walks outlined in the journal. This makes the program less expensive for you than having to pay an admission fee for each visit and encourages you to continue making the walks even after the last meeting in the program.
WHEN IT STARTS: Our most recent installment of the program began with an introductory facilitated session on March 28. Second and third follow-on sessions occurred thereafter. To sign up for the program when we reopen on October 1, 2017 after our summer break, or for information at any time about participating in the program on an individual basis with a single facilitated session, please call 520-303-3945.
HOW TO APPLY: Register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org expressing interest, or phone 520-303-3945.
SEE A VIDEO OF SATISFIED PARTICIPANTS: Open the video in YouTube.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT THE PROGRAM: “The gardens provided me with comfort and tranquility and helped me adjust to the recent passing of my husband. Meeting others who were also going through things in their lives and sharing was also beneficial.” – D.F.
“The Walks gave me the opportunity to contemplate my life and move forward. It has been a healing process and I am truly grateful.” – S.S.
“I’m so glad I found this when I did. My therapist and doctor have noticed a big change in me for the better.” – R.S.