SIGNING up for Daughters of the West is a great incentive to get back mixing and moving more in life, Karen Fowkes says.
When Ms Fowkes first joined up, she did not really know any women in the room. She admitted to having plenty of nerves but these went away as soon as the session started.
Ms Fowkes quickly realised all the women were there to support each other.
She wants anyone who is considering the program simply to "do it".
Daughters of the West is a holistic women's health program run by Western Bulldogs Community Foundation in partnership with Ballarat's Sports Central. The free, inclusive 10-week program features a fitness and talk from a community health expert each session.
"It give you incentive to try new things, especially now after COVID-19 [restrictions] and rising mental health problems," Ms Fowkes said. "There are people to talk to who feel the same as you do.
"...It is worth it for you and there is lots of support. I loved the sports. They do break you up into beginner, intermediate and experienced so you're all at the same level. Some of the exercises I found really difficult but there were always women who would say 'do it this way, it's easier'.
"Just get out there and have a go."
Daughters of the West returns to Ballarat with two Wednesday groups on offer - mornings in Wendouree and evenings in Sebastopol.
This comes after two years of online forums - last year the Ballarat program managed one on-site session before the city plunged into lockdown.
Ms Fowkes was part of the inaugural intake in 2017 and participated again a year later. She was introduced to the program by her husband, who was involved in brother program Sons of the West. As such, Ms Fowkes was invited to a group to help design the Daughters program.
"They give you lots of budgeting clues and health advice," Ms Fowkes said. "When it comes to talking pap smears and mammograms, some women know all about it but I think need the reminder to get a check and why it is important.
"Online is just not the same in helping to make friendships and getting a bit more interactions with others who might have similar experience."
IN OTHER NEWS
Her favourite component was the cooking class with lots of tips and tricks for quick and easy meals.
Daughters of the West is open to all Ballarat women, aged 18-plus. Ms Fowkes said there was something for everybody from lots of new, young mums to women in their 70s having a go.
Programs start next week: westernbulldogs.com.au/foundation/programs/daughters-of-the-west.
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