Interested in participating in the Mood Walks for Youth in Transition project? Read the following Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
- Is my organization eligible to start a Mood Walks group?
- What are the minimum requirements?
- What else do we need?
- When do the hikes take place?
- Where do we go hiking?
- What if we live in the city?
- How much time will it take?
- What do you mean by “youth in transition”?
- What kind of support will Mood Walks provide?
- Will Mood Walks provide any financial support?
- What kind of training does Hike Ontario provide?
- What if I have more questions?
Can my organization start a Mood Walks group?
Any organization or program that works with youth and feels like they might be a good fit to lead a Mood Walks group is welcome to!
Some examples include:
- Campus Wellness Centres
- Early Psychosis Intervention Programs
- Community Mental Health Agencies
- High Schools
- Transition Programs
- Youth Programs
What are the minimum requirements?
Here’s what you need to get started:
- At least one enthusiastic staff person willing to take on a leadership role
- Available staff time (approximately 90 hours total)
- Liability insurance ($2 million)
- Funding is not required, but helpful. Most groups spend between $250-$1000.
What else do we need?
Successful Mood Walks groups will need the following:
- A local Hike Ontario or urban hiking club you could partner with
- A trail, park, conservation area or other green space to visit
- A plan for transportation to hiking trails
- The ability to enlist students or community volunteers
- Space to host and funding for Safe Hiker training is not required, but a great risk management practice.
But don’t worry if you don’t have everything on this list!
When do the hikes take place?
Mood Walks groups typically organize at least 10 weekly hikes during the May-October 2016 hiking season. Exact dates and frequencies are determined by each individual group.
Where do we go hiking?
Ontario has many parks, trails and conservation areas. See, for example:
What if we live in the city?
You don’t need to leave the city to go for walk. Most urban centres have municipal parks, public gardens and other green spaces with walking trails, often accessible by public transit.
Ontario has many other parks, trails and conservation areas within easy driving distance of urban centres. See, for example:
How much time will it take?
Based on our successful pilot year, we estimate that a Mood Walks group takes approximately 90 hours of staff time for your program leader, spread over a 15-week period. That includes planning, running, and evaluating your group. (The Mood Walks Program Manual includes some suggested time-saving tips, including ways to engage students and other volunteers in your program.)
What do you mean by “youth in transition”?
The target population for this project includes young people between the ages of 13 and 24 who are at risk of, or experiencing, mental health issues. Research shows that young people tend to become less physically active as they enter their teen years. This life stage is also typically a period of many “transitions” — from teenager to young adult, from high school to post secondary, from living at home to living away.
All of these changes tend to be accompanied by greater levels of stress, higher prevalence of substance use, as well as the emergence of mental health issues. Hiking combines physical activity with exposure to the natural environment — two elements that have proven benefits in promoting mental wellness and recovery from mental illness.
What kind of support will Mood Walks provide?
Participating organizations under the project received a small amount of funding, training, and ongoing support to ensure their unique needs and goals were met. Resources are available however to any group interested in starting a Mood Walks program, including the complete online program manual, newsletters, posters and some individualized support may be available.
Will Mood Walks provide any financial support?
Mood Walks provided groups with up to $500 under the project to support costs of transportation, food, or other materials associated with participation. This money was reimbursed at the end of the project period, once receipts were provided to CMHA Ontario.
In return, Mood Walks groups were expected to match this support by spending $500 of their own funds on the project. Mood Walks group leaders were required to track their budget related to the group, as well as the value of in-kind contributions.
Groups outside of the project cycle are not eligible for funding, however groups can be started for little to no cost. Additional resources are available on fundraising, including a template donation request letter.
What kind of training will Hike Ontario provide?
All Mood Walks group leaders and participants are recommended to take Safe Hiker training through Hike Ontario. Volunteers, students, and partners from Conservation Ontario and Hike Ontario are also a good fit for this training.
In addition to Safe Hiker training, individuals may want to be trained as a Safe Hike Instructor and/or Certified Hike Leader. These individuals may be agency staff, group leaders, volunteers, placement students, peer leaders from your agency, or partners from your local hiking club or conservation authority who have been involved in your Mood Walks group.
For more information about Hike Ontario training, visit www.hikeontario.com.
What if I have more questions?
If you’re interested, but you need more information before submitting your application, feel free to contact the Mood Walks Project Coordinator at email@example.com.