Beekeeping As A Therapeutic Endeavor

There are a great many people in the U.S. now involved in the hobby of beekeeping. There are some who are involved in beekeeping in some sort of commercial or small business venture. There is a growing number of beekeeping education programs out there as well.

However, a very small focus area involving beekeeping is as a therapeutic activity. There just aren’t that many people who are interested in or have the experience to offer beekeeping experiences for others iwith a primarily therapeutic purpose.

As a profesional apiarist, a professional instructor, and a Panendeist minister, I find myself in a unique situation to be able to offer beekeeping as a way for people to immerse themself in a highly experiential way to bring focus, calm, and a sense of peace to their life in a safe way that involves beekeeping.

I have mentored and provided training to a great many people as they become involved in beekeeping or look for opportunities to become more advanced in their beekeeping skills. A number of these people have had to deal with stress in their lives to a sometimes almost incapacitating degree. From veterans dealing with PTSD to people recovering from life changing health changes or disabilities, they not only look to beekeeping as a new opportunity to engage successfully with something in their world, but find it as a path to peace and serenity in their life.

Beekeeping is a highly sensory and is extremely experiential in it’s practice. There’s only so much you can “know” of beekeeping from reading, watching or being in a classroom. Most of beekeeping is experiencing it. Knowing what particular scents and odors are that directly realate to troubleshooting a hive’s condition or a colony’s health. Knowing the feel and coloration of the comb in a hive, the cells on a frame. This is hard to know and understand without experiencing it for yourself.

The therpeutic beekeeping experience is very much an approach that provides the participant with a safe environment yet offers a multitude of facots which make it beneficial. By presenting a person with scents, visual, and touch sensory input and combining those with a directed, step-by-step, process that keeps the mind focused on an operational track, most participants find the beekeeping experience to a great relief and stress reducing tool that has long-lasting effects.

I am now beginning a project in collaboration with Scatter Joy Acres, an animal rescue and animal therapy project that conditions a wide variety of animals to be a source of comfort and stress reduction for people. The bee aspect will begin this May, 2019.

The four primary activities for the bee project there will be a home for relocated (instead of exterminated) honey bees, an apprenticeship for beekeepers interested in learning the complete apiarist experience, a veterans beekeeping group and a small group beekeeping experience that will give visitors an oportunity to see what really goes on in beekeeping, how they can help bees and to see how bees aren’t the scary things they often think they are.

The veterans beekeeping group is the focal aspect of the therapeutic effort. I am accepting veterans to register for the group at no cost to them. As they participate on a regular basis, they will use a methodology and guided experience to maximize the most beneficial aspects of beekeeping.

The methodology is one that I’ve been developing for a number of years as Ive worked with individuals I’ve trained or mentored that experience stress issues. It incorporates a certain style of movements and mental concentrations that help keep an individual focused and in-the-moment.

As this project goes forward, it’s possible to see more groups added to include people dealing with stress from a variety of backgrounds. Beekeeping is a fascinating and productive endeavor that helps both the bees and the people involved in multiple ways.

SJA-Update- News For The Last Week of November 2018

I’m working at putting a weekly update on the goings on of the various projects I am working on for each of the locations I am working on them at.  In this case, I’m talking about the goings-on at the Rescue & Teaching Apiary at Scatter Joy Acres in North Omaha.

Bee nucs are on sale.

I have placed an order for 4 nucs to be used at the Teaching apiary to begin the training and veterans group activities ther as soon as possible.  Yes, it is a rescue apiary but most rescues won’t show up in the apiary until late Spring and we want to give our participants ecxperience with bees and what to do as soon as Spring starts.  If things go as we expect and hope, this will be a one time purchase as rescues and splits will help provide the futuure teaching hives.

You can help to purchase the initial nucs for the teaching apiary by clicking this link to the GoFundMe page and contributing there.  If you don’t like GoFundMe, contact me directly for other ways to contribute.

Apprentice Program

The Apprentice program still has room for 2 more apprentices.  Apprenticeship is more than just volunteering and helping out occassionally.  It’s making a committment to helping achieve the goals and objectives of successfully managing the hives at the teaching apiary and assisting with educational programs and activities that are scheduled.

Yes, there is some flexibility but the folks willing to put the most in will be the ones given the most consideration.

Being an apprentice here is learning to successfully manage hives for production, teaching and mentoring others, doing live bee removal and relocation activities and more.  Of course there are certain benefits to making such a committment of time and effort.

Contact me directly by filling out the Apprentice form on the website.

Veterans Beekeeping Group

The veterans beekeeping project is one that focuses on using beekeeping as a therapeutic way of reducing stress and learning a new hobby at the same time.

Veteran participants are welcome to join at no cost to them.  Just bring your enthusiasm and courage and we’ll take care of the rest.

This program starts in April, 2019.  Contact me directly at 402-370-8018 or at bigbearomaha at gmail.com to register.

Bee. S. Sessions

Beekeepers are welcome to come on over and be part of a group chat about all things bees and beekeeping at Scatter Joy Acres on the First and third Saturday of each month this Winter.  There is only a $5.00 entry fee to access the farm but you get to hang out with other beekeepers, ask questions, help others and generally Bee. S. for awhile.  Come on over antime between 9 am and 11 to shoot the bees with us.

Scatter Joy Acres is located at 4966 Newport Ave, Omaha, NE 68152

Bee Zen Veterans Beekeeping Group

I posted a little while ago about the new, upcoming veterans bee group starting in 2019.  There is more information available.

Instead of limiting the number of participants, there won’t be a limit, but depending on how many people we get that want to participate, we may have multiple groups.

The participants don’t need to buy or bring anything to participate, just your interest and willingness to participate and learn.  the point is not only to learn beekeeping by doing, but also to do it in such a way as to de-stress while doing so.  There is no cost to participate, just your tome and committment.

Gear, equipment, bees, and tools will already bee there, the only thing you need to bring is you.

This isn’t going to be a psychological therapy thing.  There won’t be any counseling, etc… during the training sessions.  This is learning to go about beekeeping in a way that helps keep the beekeeper calm, focused and relaxed while keeping the bees as calm as possible at the same time.  If participants have issues with high stress, PTSD, etc…  that matters is that you are there, enjoying the moment, and learning ways to enjoy life by being an awesome, super-chill beekeeper.

If you are a veteran, know a veteran or have contact with veterans groups that might like to steer people to this direction, contact me, Tony “Big Bear” Sandoval, at 402-370-8018 or , by email at bigbearomaha@gmail.com, or on facebook/Messenger to Tony Sandoval (in Omaha, NE).

Veterans “Bee Cool” Beekeeping Group

As the new rescue and teaching apiary at Scatter Joy Acres becomes more complete, the plans to offer more activities training and classes increases as well.

In light of this, there will be a new beekeeping group starting next Spring at the apiary for veterans who want to get into beekeeping a a way to help deal with reducing stress and PTSD issues.  Yes, beekeeping to REDUCE stress.

Beelieve it or not, there are methods of going about beekeeping that are just a natural at helping keep people relaxed but focused.  The scents and sounds along with the deliberate and almost zen-like environment created in the moment help many people to find beekeeping can bee a relaxing and theraputic activity.

This group will work with one, maybe two, horizontal top bar hives.

This new group for veterans will begin with 2 to 6 participants.  Everything is provided, all the participants need to bring is themself and an open mind.  (though I’m sure Scatter Joy Acres would appreciate a $5.00 donation at the front gate, it won’t bee a requirement for members of this group.

To apply to be a member of this group beginning April 2019, please contact Tony Sandoval, via the contact page here  and mention your interest in the veterans beekeeping group.  Participants will bee accepted on a First Come, First Served basis.