Tuesday 7th December, 2021
Author:   Michael Kenny

Like much of Gippsland, the community of Boisdale has experienced its share of challenges, including prolonged drought, and more recently, the widespread effects of bushfire, followed by floods and then the COVID-19 pandemic. Following a wet Spring in 2021, many surrounding properties are now busy preparing for the season ahead, cutting silage, managing stock and negotiating boggy ground, as regular social activities and events begin to resume.

Small communities like Boisdale depend upon local associations and committees that quietly get on with things. Often this revolves around planning events, groups and activities that ensure people feel connected, engaged with the local community, and feel valued and supported throughout their lifetime.

One such example is the Boisdale Tai Chi Group, which has been providing a fantastic opportunity for local women to participate in a friendly and accessible physical exercise program. This dedicated group of women and newer members have been meeting at the historic Boisdale Public Hall for Tai Chi classes for some time, with some participants describing themselves as being “hooked” on the exercise and regular contact the group provides.

The Boisdale Tai Chi Group also aims to build and maintain friendships amongst local women, attracting members from surrounding rural communities and diverse backgrounds, including the beautiful townships of Tinamba and Valencia Creek. Participants stay after Tai Chi class for “a cup of tea, finger food and great company.”

Judy Traill, chair of the Boisdale and District Progress Association, and the driving force behind the Boisdale Tai Chi group, which begun about 10 years ago, has been passionate about maintaining the group’s successful approach and is well placed to attest to the group’s success at the personal level.

Judy explained that:

“…over this time strong friendships have formed, we tap into all of our various networks to keep our small community alive, (and) because of this we (can) offer support when times are difficult to the more vulnerable and isolated in the community.”

Of course, in and amongst these larger events and impacts there have also been personal life changes for members of the group, and within the wider community. The personal support networks that have grown through Boisdale Tai Chi have been a powerful source of encouragement and friendship for many.

According to Judy, the Boisdale and District Association also “supports around 14 community groups in all”, besides acting “as the auspicing body for the Tai Chi group”. These including the local football club with five teams for both men’s and women’s leagues, six netball teams, a growing local CFA membership and the Boisdale Creative Group, which is aimed at keeping old and new skills alive.

The Boisdale and District Association also distribute a regular community newsletter, The Bridge, which is valuable in promoting local activities and events within the local area. The Bridge is recognised as a valuable community asset, receiving support from the Wellington Shire.

Boisdale Tai Chi Group was just one of the many valued community groups that was suspended during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. With high rates of vaccination now allowing many

community activities to resume, the Boisdale Tai Chi Group are back in full swing and looking forward to adding a further spring in the step of members, new and old, besides reconnecting over the food, conversation and laughter that always follows.

With new members always welcome, the Boisdale Tai Chi Group meet every Wednesday at 10:00am at the Boisdale Public Hall.

Connect Well East Gippsland + Wellington is proud to support the contribution of the Boisdale Tai Chi Group in promoting positive health and wellbeing within the Gippsland region.