Think a bar, wellness and community don’t go together? Think again.
On January 24th, we joined forces with Denizens Brewing Co. in Downtown Silver Spring to host a Community Wellness Open House. We knew it might sound strange to some to host a wellness-themed event at a bar. And on a cold, wet Saturday afternoon too? Forget it. We expected most people would stay at home to avoid the wintry mess outside.
What happened instead was magic.
Together with the Denizens team, we set up several “stations” throughout the bar for people to peruse at their leisure:
- acupuncture station: to feel what 1-2 needles are like and get 5 minutes of relaxation
- yoga station: to practice a few poses anyone can do at work
- brewery tour station: to find out how much love goes into beer
- beer quiz station: to find out your “inner beer” and get a matching [nutritious] recipe, courtesy of our friend Jessica Braider of The Balanced Kitchen
- community vision board station: to capture words and visuals of what we as a community want to see in 2015
Shortly after 1pm, the bar was packed with smiling, curious faces. We saw familiar folks from the neighborhood and we met people who had traveled from all over Maryland, Virginia and D.C. Some people came to try acupuncture for the first time ever. Some came to fit a little yoga into their weekend. Some came to hang out with buddies and relax. One person was excited about the vision board (we won’t call you out).
There was a bit of excitement buzzing in the air, and it wasn’t just because of the beer.
We heard comments like:
“The needles felt weird at first but now I feel both calm and energized.”
“I now have a couple simple yoga poses I can try at my desk at work.”
“The vision board was an awesome conversation starter!”
From the vision board alone, several commonalities emerged: people are always interested in good food, having fun with others, and getting active. What was incredible to see was how interested people are in helping and giving back. There was a shared interest in:
- volunteering (check out the local time bank or subscribe to Daily Do Good)
- helping homeless folks (check out A Wider Circle)
- attending animal shelter events (see the local Humane Society)
- trying all the local restaurants (read restaurant recaps by Jonna Huseman on Silver Spring, Inc’s website)
We introduced old and new community members to each other.
We answered lots of questions, from what acupuncture does to where the Saturday Farmer’s Market is.
We also enlisted a friend, Kerry Jo Sowers, to conduct mini interviews to capture individual questions and thoughts about wellness, the community, and the new year.
There was a theme throughout the afternoon: people were excited to have a way to connect with each other.
We believe that community is just as important to wellness as nutrition and exercise. Having people to do life with makes life a little easier to bear; sometimes we need help to get to the gym, eat healthy, feed our pet, watch our kids while we run out for groceries, take us to the E.R. when we need it, or share a drink after work to sort out what’s on our mind. We believe community is so important that we wrote it into our mission to be a conduit of wellness and of fostering community.
And what better place to gather community than at the local watering hole; after all, bars have been the neighborhood hub for centuries.
Pictures! Check out the photo album on our Facebook page.
Note: If you were there, let’s keep the conversation going! If you met someone and you want our help connecting with them, let us know. Also, if you posted something on the vision board that you want help finding out more about, we’re happy to help; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Facebook or Twitter.