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Adirondack Wellness Center without Walls

May 20, 2014 - Ernest Hohmeyer
It was a powerful meeting.

Comments from speakers, panelists and participants were sincere, provocative and challenging.

Overall, though, perhaps because we could see new life finally arriving in our Adirondack spring, there was the overall powerful sense that we need to work – and grow - together.

But that wasn’t what was most revealing. Like the fascination of the new buds of nature everywhere around us, it was the need to do so – in a new way.

An Adirondack Wellness Center without Walls concept was sprouted.

Where all of this will go will be interesting.

Over 100 businesses, organizations and community groups expressed an interest in the Adirondack Wellness Summit. More than 75 participated.

You and I?

What is an “Adirondack Wellness Center without Walls”?

As I write, it is being defined by the group of attendees.

Here is the general concept: The“New Wellness” is you and I.

Camille Hoheb, CEO of Wellness Tourism World-wide (web site) and keynote speaker quickly defined what is not. It is not just “spa vacations” or “clinical” wellness; it is also about what we are here in the “healing woods.”

“New Wellness”

“Research shows time in nature impact mood and health” Ms. Hoheb stated reaffirming the role of our many recreational opportunities. “Cultural assets such as visual arts, theater and music are also important to leading a balanced life, social engagement and life enjoyment. Wellness is mufti-dimensional and the Adirondacks have much to offer.”

It is not just visitor travel. Ms. Hoheb provided examples of other types of wellness activities including working with veterans, tackling the rising problem of obesity, re-connecting families and perhaps the biggest one: reducing stress.

Too Small?

Any discussion on taking advantage of economic opportunities in the Adirondacks always runs smack into the limited resources of our small businesses and community organizations.

This was no different.

“Without Walls”?

How would we go about working together was the final workshop of the Adirondack Wellness Summit.

Needs included: • Individual organizations would not have the resources to offer the diversity of services • Financial and personnel resources were limited

Opportunities: • To “package” diverse resources.” • Wellness business assistance network • Build shoulder season activities • Reach “new wellness” markets

Many ideas of a potential “Adirondack Wellness Center without Walls” were presented and I am sure you will hear more about them.

An Example hits Home

The intent though was perhaps best symbolized by the example put forth by one of the panelists, Jordanna Mallach, Program Coordinator Homeward Bound Adirondacks. Ms. Mallach urged the group to “understand our clientele” and talked about how difficult it could be to reach the targeted military audience at Fort Drum for example, as many perceived our area to be “high end." There were opportunities to increase the awareness of all that we have to offer, if collectively we could send that message.

Are You Prepared?

The day began with a workshop on “Are You Prepared for the New Wellness Growth.” Many of the new programs looking at how to improve your business are going beyond the traditional “X’s & O’s.” Some I have blogged about previously here including the series in April on “New Business and Community” models and the work of Google’s “Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute” and the Presencing Institute which arose at MIT, among others.

At this workshop, panelists from Adirondack Bank, the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation and NBT Bank talked about the importance of including personal wellness and a healthy attitude in business success. They provided great tips and resources.

We as a Wellness Destination?

At the following workshop “The Adirondacks as a Wellness Destination” Johnna MacDougall, representing North Country Community College expressed the need, which was also “an opportunity,” for the region to develop its own “wellness brand.” A wellness practitioner, Joe Dockery of Dockery Chiropractic passionately discussed the need to understand what wellness is and isn’t.

Wellness has been a huge part of our history. It is a growing trend. As Ms. Hoheb noted “Everybody wants to feel healthy and vibrant.”

A Perfect Fit?

We have all the tools and the resources to make wellness a key component of our region’s future. Our environment, unique culture compliments this new economic trend. More importantly, we have a business and community infrastructure already in place between our health organizations, wellness practitioners, outdoor recreation companies, a strong presence in the arts and local culture.

The new wellness is not dominated by any one industry unlike tourism. It also offers non-weather dependent and shoulder season opportunities.

Further, we don’t need to make a huge capital investment to get started.

Others Welcomed

What it may require though is a new way to work together to take advantage of these new wellness opportunities. Participants, enthusiastically, appeared ready to do so.

You can too.


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