Our Retreats & their Activities
Ballarat and Millbrook Lakes
DATES: 4pm Monday 4th April to 3pm Wednesday 6th April 2022
Our 2022 retreat was held in Ballarat, a large country town of Victoria. We had 10 keen and very interested ladies with a great desire to keep living despite their various diagnoses. None had fished before. Our accommodation was at the Mercure Hotel and this is where we held our meet and greet and introduction to the fly fishing. We watched the River of Life video which turned one lady who was reluctant to catch a fish because she didn’t want to hurt it, into someone who now understood that we care for the fish and cause them as little trauma as possible. Our ice breaker asked the ladies to pick a fly that drew their attention and then introduce themselves and tell us why that fly suited them. They were also happy to briefly touch on their cancer experience so far.
After a delicious meal the ladies were taught how to tie their own fly, one fancy one for their hat and the other suitable for fishing on the lakes.
Day 2 began with some tuition on the basics of fly casting and fly fishing including handling fish and wading safety. We then went to the Ballarat Fly Fishers club-rooms for another delicious meal.
The club-rooms sit on a large man-made lake called Lake Wendouree which provided a perfect back drop for lunch and the pampering session that followed. We were lucky enough to be able to enlist the help of an organisation called Look Good Feel Better whose volunteers spent time with the ladies teaching them about skin care and make-up application post cancer treatment. The ladies were also provided with a goody bag full of make-up and creams. The now very glamorous looking ladies spent a few hours on the lake practicing what had been taught that morning. The first fishing success of the retreat was a little Redfin Perch caught by a very excited Kerry. The Ballarat Courier newspaper came and did an article - we made the front page. The Evening Circle concluded the day after yet another delicious meal and a very tired but happy group of ladies headed back to the Mercure and off to bed ready for the big third day.
Day 3 we all checked out of the Mercure and headed off to spend the day on private lakes in a little country town called Mount Edgerton. The fish were teasing the ladies with plenty of rises and two managed to hook up. They all had a ball and some have decided to take up fly fishing - we will put them in touch with their local clubs. The feedback was very positive and they have all gone away to sing our praises to breast care nurses, doctors, oncologists and anyone else who will listen.
“I can’t thank you enough for such an amazing experience. Everyone was supportive, friendly, caring and genuine. I haven’t laughed so much for ages. Truly unforgettable” Helen
“Fantastic retreat, had so much fun. Thank you for the wonderful, generous time you provided” Penny
“The generosity of the organisers was legendary. Met some wonderful, brave and fun new friends and would happily maintain connection from here on. I wish the organisation every success in continuing to run this retreat and hope that sponsors come on board when the tax status is sorted. Thank you for the experience” Sue
We were able to hold this retreat thanks to the support of the Ballarat Fly Fishers and Millbrook Lakes which donated their facilities for our use. There is also the tireless effort of our volunteers who put so much time into planning to make it an unforgettable retreat. We were also fortunate enough to have some amazing buddies who were happy to volunteer their time to help out.