What IS “Among Friends”?
“Among Friends” is a group of people, many of whom have experienced a significa
nt loss or a bereavement, who come together from time to time to enjoy social activities, fun events and travel opportunities.
Many times, the thing people miss most after a loss is the opportunity to go out to a movie, to dinner or the theatre, or to travel either on day trips or on holidays. Yet doing these things alone or with strangers is not always appealing and can be a challenge.
“You never have to do things alone
when you are ‘Among Friends’”
“‘Among Friends’ gave me the confidence to do the things I used to do before my loss.” Lorna
Over the years, after people had attended Dr Bill’s support programme, many would ask about ongoing activities and opportunities to meet, and about social events together with people who were “in the same boat”.
Dr Bill has seen this initiative grow and, even more importantly, has seen how significant a part of people’s recovery their involvement with this programme has been.
“They say ‘life goes on’. ‘Among Friends’ helped me to believe that.” Don
“Among Friends” is obviously more of a “local” activity, but it is our hope that many visiting our web site will catch the vision of how this programme could provide an excellent ongoing support in YOUR community, and allow us to assist you, wherever you are in the world, to organize and facilitate a similar group for YOUR area. Read on for further details.
“Thanks to this group, I’m starting to think maybe I DO have a future.” Ken
We have a variety of activities, which are rooted in a monthly dinner meeting. We have found that this regular meeting helps people to establish friendships and allows us to announce and promote our “more ambitious” initiatives.
1. Dinner Meetings:
We have an ongoing arrangement with a local restaurant who reserve a private space for us. They are VERY happy to have 70+ people come on a Sunday afternoon for dinner, so they give us a good flat rate for the meal.
We meet on the 4th Sunday of every month. Other groups should choose a time and place that is convenient for all. HOWEVER, whatever day or time you decide, keeping the same date and location is important, inasmuch as grieving people are often confused, and also if someone misses a month or so, they automatically know when and where to reconnect.
The agenda is simply to have dinner togetherAmong Friends, and many supportive conversations are observed. The dinner is a good way to introduce new people to the group and we have ways of acknowledging those who are there for the first time, and making them feel welcome.
“‘Among Friends’ has been my lifeline … it feels good to laugh and have fun again” Sandra
Our committee gathers ideas at one of the dinners, and plans events for the year ahead. These may include day bus trips, theatre evenings, movie nights, picnics, golf etc., etc. … whatever the group or part thereof would be interested in. people have to register in advance so that proper arrangements can be made. See our local newsletter for a sample of this.
3. Weekend Retreats:
Weekend retreats can be help at a resort or hotel, which can incorporate a speaker and support programmes, as well as fun activities. In our own situation, we have kept weekend retreats to a minimum, inasmuch as they can be expensive, and we want to be VERY sensitive to the fact that not everyone can afford such activities. We do not want Among Friends to be available only to people who have enough money to pay for such activities, and try to ensure we have some “cheaper” events to accommodate all.
Incidentally, our local group has a ‘benevolent fund’ sensitively handled to accommodate people who are not in a financial position to attend.
4. Travel Trips:
For those who want to travel, we offer several trips every year. For the past 8 years we have organized a cruise in January which includes all the fun that such an experience can offer, but also includes grief support and groups with Dr Bill for those who find that helpful. Please contact us for details about upcoming travel events, and wherever you are in the world, why not meet up and travel with us ‘Among Friends.”
“When I didn’t think I could go on, I found new friends who gave me the strength to start.” Sheila
How to Organise a Local Chapter of Among Friends
If you are involved with a grief support group, and would like to organize an Among Friends program in your community where one does not already exist, we would be willing to assist you.
However, inasmuch as we are dealing with grieving people at a very vulnerable time in their lives, we need to ensure that the leadership of all our groups is appropriate and qualified. This is more in attitude and in recognition of skills by others than academic qualifications.
We would like to find out a little bit about you, and have you provide some references of people who can affirm your skills in leadership and sensitivity to the bereaved, so that we can make certain that people in your community will have good, insightful leadership in your community. I feel confident that everyone will recognize the importance and necessity of this.Therefore we would ask you to fill out the following leadership registration form, and submit it, on line to us at amongfriends@GriefJourney.com . On approval of references, we will be happy to e mail you a sheet of information which will assist you in establishing a group.
We apologize for any inconvenience and extra work this may cause, but we are anxious to maintain the integrity of our group by ensuring good and appropriate leadership. We are sure you will understand.