Wellness Q+A with Sheldon Tetreault

The Winds of Change in partnership with Pemberton Rotary presents Dr Art Hister tonight at the Community Centre as part of its Speaker Series. On November 22, the Winds of Change hosts its 5th annual Wellness Gathering, and the pioneering drug and alcohol task-force is also calling for nominations for the 5th Winds of Change recognition awards. We asked Steering Committee Chair, Sheldon Tetreault, a few questions about wellness, community and breaking down barriers for positive change.


Sheldon Tetreault at the 2013 Wellness Gathering. Photo by Gary Martin.

Who is the Wellness Gathering for?

The Gathering is for all residents in the Pemberton Valley. We are trying to be as inclusive as possible. I think there will be something for everyone so come alone, come with a group of friends, come with your family. Make an afternoon of it. Join an active living demonstration which are always a hoot. Join us for dinner. It’s all free.


If you live in Mount Currie or D’Arcy then it’s super convenient for you this year given that it’s at Ullus. If you are from Pemberton and have never been to the Ullus Community Centre then this is a fun and friendly opportunity to see the facility, meet your neighbours from Mount Currie, and learn about healthy living and wellness. Additionally, if you have never been to the Lil’wat cultural centre in Ullus then it’s a must see. The staff are super welcoming and the collection is really cool. It’s the Mount Currie equivalent of the Pemberton museum.


What are the biggest learnings the Winds of Change has taken from hosting 4 such gatherings, in each community?

Have a lot of fun and keep things really interactive. Based on feedback, we are going to double our efforts to have a diverse tradeshow, lots of active living demonstrations, and a big, slow food inspired dinner. It’s a super warm and friendly atmosphere and we want to maintain that.


How does the Speaker Series align with the Wellness Gathering and the broad focus the Winds of Change has taken regarding wellness?

The Speaker Series is an opportunity to learn from and be inspired by great individuals with a story to tell. More than that, however, it is also an opportunity to engage community members in a dialogue about health and wellness in ways that connect with us at a deep and personal level. Dr. Art Hister, for example, takes the complexity of medical science and boils it all down to simple truths for healthier and happier living. The fact that he does it with such a joyful sense of humour only makes the whole experience so much more effortless. Later in the year we are planning to bring back Zoya Jiwa who really touched people with her talk on gratitude last year. The wisdom she shares with her audiences is doubly inspiring given her young age. And this is the same thing we are trying to do with the Wellness Gathering – bring people together, reflect on what wellness means to us, share a moment with a friend (or make a new friend), and take away a renewed appreciation for the richness of our lives.


Do you have any insight into how differently Lil’wat and Pemberton folk approach wellness? Why might that cause tension and misunderstanding? How might we turn that into a strength/opportunity?
How do we create things that resonate universally? One of things that has intrigued me, from the #50DayWellnessChallenge is that, although there a common themes, people really approach wellness so differently. There are so many paths, and we’re all in such different places (ie some people needed to do less, some to do more…) Any thoughts on that?

I love the 50 day wellness challenge! It’s awesome to see how many people took up the challenge and the range of things they are doing. Not everything within the wellness spectrum resonates with me personally but from my perspective that’s ok.ay There are lots of types of people in this world and health – especially mental health – isn’t a one size fits all formula. So I don’t think there can be one path. I think what’s important is that we become conscious and self-reflective about the patterns and behaviours in our lives and take action to change things that we can control. I guess this is why the challenge is so great – it makes you think about wellness but then it’s a call to action.


Change is afoot in our communities with the VoP and SLRD elections and lots of activity ramping up for Lil’wat Nation with initiatives like the land code. What does that mean for 2015? And where is the Winds of Change heading next?

Good question! This is the tenth year of the Winds of Change and we’ve done a lot of good work over the years – like the Community Alcohol Policy we just concluded. Personally, I think the initiative has really done a lot to build bridges between the different local government jurisdictions and between individuals within our communities. The value, of course, is that a community of well connected individuals sharing a vision of wellness and working towards that vision will be so much more creative, collaborative, effective and resilient than those that do not cultivate this. Addictions and other social challenges we face are incredibly complex and persistent. There is no silver bullet. So for me, I’m motivated to build collective strength, and create a future where all of our children can live their lives to their fullest potential. With regard to the Winds of Change specifically, I think it should continue in 2015 and beyond but obviously I’m biased. So in the interest of objectivity, we’ve commissioned an independent evaluation to consider how effective we’ve been and what’s next. The findings will be presented to the Village of Pemberton Council, the Lil’wat Nation Council, and the Area C director early in the new year.


Photos from the 2013 Wellness Gathering taken by Gary Martin.

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