From IDHW’s Todd Hurt, administrator of State Hospital North
OROFINO, Idaho – On a beautiful, blue-sky May day, there was a feeling of gratitude flowing through State Hospital North. The first reason for the gratitude was that it had been a long fall, cold winter and wet spring. The second is that patients were able to get out on the grounds during that beautiful day and play Frisbee disc golf. This disc golf was even more special given that we used new disc golf baskets donated to the hospital from NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) far North.
We have played disc golf for years at the hospital. It’s a great therapy tool that can be used for increasing mood, allowing for exercise, socialization, and joy. In the beginning, we would pick out trees on the grounds, call par, define the fairway and then play. After a few years went by, portable baskets were purchased, which was great at first but, unfortunately, these portable baskets did not weather well.
Then last fall, NAMI far North President Virginia “Gini” Woodward contacted the hospital and asked if there was anything the hospital would like donated for patient’s long-term use, benefit and wellness. The Therapeutic Recreation Department came up the with the idea of a permanent disc golf course with durable, disc golf baskets that could better withstand the outdoor elements.
NAMI far North purchased and donated the baskets this winter and on one much-appreciated, fairly dry spring day, SHN maintenance staff installed the baskets with a little help from a few inmates at Idaho Department of Corrections. The hospital now has a beautiful disc golf course that can be used for years to come, supporting patient’s wellness and recovery. The first round of disc golf went so well that as we finished, the patients asked if we could go around again. On such a beautiful day, how could we not play a second round?
But disc golf baskets are only the latest donations from NAMI far North. Members of NAMI have worked tirelessly and with dedication to support patients in their journey toward recovery. In just three short years since their organization took on the “NAMI far North, Conduit of Care” project, here is a general overview of their heartfelt “pay it forward” philosophy and true generosity:
- Frisbee disc golf baskets/discs
- General variety of crafts, seasonal crafts (especially Christmas)
- Christmas gifts: hats, gloves, socks, handmade quilts, polar fleece blankets, muslin gift bags
- Bags and bags of much-needed yarn
- Pillow cases for embroidery projects
- Yards of patterned fabrics
- $200 annually since 2015 of canteen tickets for patient’s use
- Greeting cards, welcoming and supporting them during their stay at the hospital
- Weighted blankets for treatment of reducing anxiety
- Insulated drink cups/mugs
- Special requests for outdoor cold weather gear, sweat pants, shorts, undergarments
- Backpacks and assorted toiletries for returning to the community
In total, we estimate that their donations are well over $6,000, but their efforts and sincerity…priceless! Pretty impressive from a small group of individuals who care enough to give back to others in need, in a really big way.
With utmost gratitude, I’d like to extend a thank-you from the patients past, present and future of State Hospital North and the staff who admire the work and generosity of those who make NAMI an inspiration to all of us.
— State Hospital North Administrator Todd Hurt