Many people have read this blog entry since it was written in October 2011. Pennsylvania is, in March 2012, facing large budget cuts to the funds which operate the mental health system. With some of the cuts that have been mentioned, the people with mental health issues may lose valuable services which allow them to continue to live happy, healthy, productive lives in their communities.
Since you have come to read this blog, if you live in Pennsylvania and care about the people represented here and their continued care, I would ask you to identify your local legislators and either write them letters or call them, including Governor Corbett. Tell them that you do not want the mental health budgets to be cut in the ways that are being suggested, and that we should find a better way to help with our state budget issues.
Thank you for considering doing that, thanks from many people! Now, read about our great Lodge Conference, and thanks for reading!
About a hundred people got together this week in Carlisle Pa. They came from as far away as North Dakota, Minnesota and all over Pa. Some were people with a mental illness. Some were staff who work with people who have a mental illness. Some were administrators of agencies who find ways to make our mental health programs work even in a rough economy.
But all who came had one reason for getting together. All have hope, all believe in the spirit of recovery from a mental illness. All believe the same thing: that people with a mental illness are just like everybody else, and want and deserve a happy, healthy life, enriched by all the things that can enrich a life.
Each Lodge Conference has seminars to reinforce hope and recovery, and teach people more about the recovery process. Some of the folks at this year’s conference were newcomers to Lodge life, and some staff just getting their Lodges started. Others of us have been around a while, and know what a difference living in a Lodge can make.
People living in Lodges are semi-independent. There is a staff person available for each Lodge for general guidance. But the Lodge members make their own decisions, just like everybody else. Because, well, they actually are just like everybody else. They work, they run a household, they have pets and go shopping and play baseball and, oh, whatever everybody else does. That IS recovery, and we are all working at it. And it is working.
When we get together annually we recognize outstanding people who have done outstanding things in their lives and Lodges. We share the camaraderie of a group of people who all have the same purpose in their hearts. We learn, we teach, we absorb, and we enjoy our time together and all go back home refreshed from the energy of recovery and hope that was everywhere in the Conference.
Oh yea, we also have some fun! Those of us who live around here have all been to Gettysburg. But we had people coming from all over who had probably never been there. So our Conference organizer and Lodge Coordinator, Bill McHenry, had the marvelous idea to organize a bus tour of Gettysburg, for people who may not get to this part of the country again. So a bunch of us got on a bus, drove about 45 minutes thru a downpour, which somehow ended just as we pulled into Gettysburg. Then the sun shined and we got to get out of the bus with an excellent tour guide, and take pictures and look at famous monuments at this very important place in our history.
We also eat well when we go to Conferences. The hotel we were at had several great meals for us. And, we also had a pig roast on Thursday night, catered by Crider’s Meats and Catering from Shippensburg. Everybody seemed to really enjoy the pig and all his side dishes. Well, everybody but the pig enjoyed it……………
Carlisle has a rich history, since this area was the frontier as people were moving to the west. It’s a great town to visit and Conference attendees seemed to like everything about the Conference. Next year, Chicago!