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It’s summer and for many of us that means going on vacation!  Not everyone can afford the luxury of traveling to a tropical island or visiting another country so we’ve done some research and found several fun-filled family adventure getaways right here in Northeast PA! 

 

For those of you who enjoy a thrill ride, there are several amusement parks within a reasonable driving distance and most of them have a waterpark section so you can cool off in between roller coaster rides.  Knoebel’s campground and amusement park in Ellysburg is a classic old family friendly park and the closest if you are in Columbia County.  They offer free parking and free admission!  Ticket books are also available at a discounted price at the local grocery chains.  Groups and pets are welcome with the option to rent pavilions for larger parties.   Activities include the amusement park, fishing, playground, swimming, and waterpark.  Rent a campsite or RV site with full hook-ups starting at $46/night. 

 

If you are looking for something a bit larger with higher roller coasters, Hersheypark in Hershey is another great option.  I highly recommend their newest coaster, Sky Rush!  You will enjoy a thrilling 200-foot drop and get to speeds of 75 miles per hour.  They have a great variety of small rides for the little ones as well.  You are not allowed to bring food into the park so you have to purchase it there.  They have an allergen free restaurant for those with special dietary needs.  There is a waterpark included and suited for all ages.  Adult tickets are $61.95 and $38.95 for juniors and seniors.  You can also purchase your tickets at the local grocery chains for a discount.

 

If you would like to take a day trip with the family to get some education about Pennsylvania’s cultural heritage, The Amish Village in Lancaster Dutch County has three different tours to choose from.  Experience the authentic farmhouse, backroad bus tour, village tour, or all three!  Learn how the Amish community works and lives today and learn about their history as well.  Tours ra

 

nge from $9 for an adult and $6 for a child to $26/$13.  All children under four are free. 

 

The most popular natural attraction in PA is Crystal Cave Park near Kutztown.  They offer underground educational tours and are open from March until the end of November.  You will get a 55-minute tour and learn about cave geology while keeping cool in the constant 54-degree underground caves.  A nice alternative to air conditioning on these hot humid days!  They have a rock and mineral shop to purchase souvenirs to take home and an ice cream parlor and café along with mini golf, and panning for your own gemstones.

 

Love hiking and waterfalls?  Ricket’s Glen State Park in Red Rock is one of the most scenic places in PA.  Hike the Falls Trails System and view 22 named waterfalls along the way.  Hiking around the falls can get steep so this may not be the best destination for young children, unless of course, you are carrying the on your back.  Bushkill Falls in the Pocono mountains is another great spot for hiking.  They too have a series of waterfalls along the trails and there is a wildlife exhibit at the entrance to the falls. 

 

Looking for some fun team building or family bonding activities?  Refreshing Mountain Resort in Lancaster County looks like a blast with retreats for families, children, adults, and groups.  Stay in a cozy cabin or just go for a day adventure and learn valuable skills for working as a team.  They have a pool, gymnasium, zip lines, ropes course, climbing wall, and more!  Meals are provided and get a group discount for groups of three or more.  Breathe in the fresh mountain air for a purifying break from the daily grind and return with renewed energy!

 

We may not live on a tropical island, but there are other great options to enjoy what our state has to offer so check one or more of them out!  Visit the websites below for more information on the destinations mentioned above and get away without breaking the bank!  Summer is going fast so plan ahead and take advantage while the warm weather lasts!

July 29, 2015

Autumn will be here before we know it! WT is ready to welcome in the new season with special offerings designed to improve health, form new relationships, stimulate the mind, and detox with a good sweat! Here's what you can look forward to:

 

1. FALL FIT FAST 30-DAY CHALLENGE

October 7th, 14th, 21st, & 28th       5:30-6:30 pm each week

$65/person (includes all four classes)

Lead by: Shawn Clavelle, RN, Certified Health Coach

 

 

Discover a gentler, kinder version of The Biggest Loser Challenge to get into shape! Gain valuable insight on how to lose weight, gain muscle, increase energy, and improve overall happiness in a 4-week series program. Experience the benefits of weekly small group coaching sessions and learn how to incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle for lasting change. You will receive grocery shopping list ideas, recipes, meal planning tips, personal email support from WT Health Coach, Shawn Clavelle, physical activity tracking sheets, free giveaways, and tasty treats!

 

 

2. COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB

FREE!

 

Join us for a time of community, togetherness, learning, and self exploration! Starting October 8th, the Willow Tree Book Club will meet the first Thursday of each month to discuss the book selection for that month. Book selections are focused on self growth, improving overall health, and gaining new, positive perspectives on life. The group will be facilitated by Willow Tree Wellness & Counseling team members, who have advanced training and experience in the health and wellness field. (Please read each book selection prior to the meeting date)

 

Thursday, October 8, 2015 from 5:30-6:30 pm    Book Selection: "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle, Facilitated by Nicole Iacovoni, Licensed Psychotherapist

 

Thursday, November 5, 2015  from 5:30-6:30 pm, Book Selection: "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho, Facilitated by Lindsey McNamara, Certified Yoga Instructor

 

Thursday, December 3, 2015  from 5:30-6:30 pm, Book Selection: “Women, Food, & God” by Geneen Roth , Facilitated by Shawn Clavelle, Certified Health Coach

 

 

3. SWEATY GOOD TIME HOT YOGA WORKSHOP

Saturday, October 17, 2015  from 11:30 am- 1:00 pm

$25/person, pre-registration required 

Lindsey McNamara, Certified Yoga Instructor

 

 

Welcome the cool weather with a little heat and a lot of fun!

 

Join us for a 90-minute hatha yoga class in a 90 degree heated studio. Break a sweat, release toxins, and heat up before the cold of winter sets in!

 

The heated room helps the body to warm more quickly, allowing us to go deeper into our postures. We will begin to stoke the inner flame with a series of strong standing sequences, moving into deep hip openers to clear the pelvis. Complete with a variety of twists to wring out the internal organs and inversions to stimulate the lymphatic system to aid in flushing impurities; this all-levels practice will be deeply nurturing and cleansing. 

 

Our Sweaty Good Time Workshop will kick off our regular hot yoga season. Following the workshop, we will offer hot yoga classes each week on our regular yoga class schedule. 

 

It seems as if everyone today is suffering from some degree of anxiety or depression. Our lives are busier than ever with increasingly demanding jobs, fast paced technology and media, packed schedules, and pressure to keep doing more. We are a society that thrives on what’s new, which makes things exciting, but also easy to lose gratitude for what we have...because, after all, what we have is probably “so yesterday” already.

 

I grew up in small New England town where the pace of life was a bit slower than city life. In fact when I visited a city and then eventually lived in one, I found myself exhausted and overwhelmed at the end of the day. It was exciting to be in the midst of all the happenings, but I noticed myself getting further and further away from nature and the connection to my body. I often thought, how do these people sustain this level of energy and stimulation all the time? Quick answer, they don’t. Not without a great cost to their physical, mental, and spiritual health. We are a nation that survives on coffee. Really, think about it...how productive would we be without caffeine and sugar to keep us going? Don’t get me wrong, I am not giving up my daily cup of joe anytime soon, but just think about how we keep ourselves going to sustain this whirlwind pace we have created. No one has time for anything anymore! We are all so busy, yet, depressed, have poor energy, stressed to the max, and often sick as a result.

 

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders can have a strong genetic component, but our lifestyle and diet today is also heavily contributing to the sharp increase in morbidity. We all have experienced some degree of depression at some point in our lives. Major clinical depression is another beast all-together that requires an individualistic treatment plan, often including medication and psychological counseling. There are chemicals in our brains called neurotransmitters that allow our nerves to talk to each other. These include serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine-our “feel good” chemicals. It is believed that those who suffer from depression have less of these available, and thus, resulting in a lower mood. Antidepressants help make more of these chemicals available, ultimately improving mood.

 

Exciting new research suggests that there are natural “antidepressants” called polyphenols found in many whole foods we consume. Polyphenols are micronutrients found in many plant foods. The studies suggest that these natural chemicals can affect the physiological and biochemical reactions in our body in the same way that an antidepressant medication would. I am never ceased to be amazed at what nature provides for us and how incredibly intelligent our bodies are! These powerful little mood enhancing nutrients can be found in foods such as apples, kale, berries, grapes, and onions. I would also like to highlight three categories of foods that can be crucial to improving mood.

 

1. Chocolate (dark chocolate, or raw “cacao”): Cacao is raw chocolate before we add the cream, sugar, and flavoring. It is high in antioxidants, contains calming magnesium, and decreases toxic stress hormones like cortisol. You can buy it in it’s raw powder form or eat it as delicious dark chocolate in small doses as it is higher in milk fat and calories.

 

2. Carbs: Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap lately and partially for good reason:

refined sugar, a huge contributor to obesity and diabetes. Not all carbs are bad, however, and whole grain carbs can promote serotonin production, thus increasing mood. Just choose whole, unprocessed, no sugar added varieties such as oats, brown rice, buckwheat, and quinoa.

 

3. Omega-3’s: We don’t make this essential fatty acid in our bodies so we need to get it from food. The best source is ground flax seed or flax seed oil, but you can also find it in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can buy supplements sourced from algae.

 

Of course, do not stop or change your medication dose without speaking to your doctor first. These foods can absolutely elevate your mood, but it is important that you have adequate support and oversight if you feel your medication treatment needs to be adjusted. The best place to start is to experiment with these types of foods and note how you feel. Keep a journal so you can track progress and what you learn about how food affects your mood. Most importantly, have fun and get your smile on! 

 

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Shawn Clavelle earned her bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of Vermont. She earned her certification in Health Coaching at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Shawn’s vast clinical experience and knowledge of the healthcare system makes her proficient at helping others design their own treatment plan through structured goal setting and continuous evaluation of progress. Using a holistic approach with a focus on nutrition, she helps uncover the obstacles to good health and provides simple options for making better lifestyle choices.  

It’s summer! For many children summer means no school and day after day of having nothing to do but have fun. But for children with ADHD day after day without any structure often means getting into trouble. As parents, you know your child has worked hard through the school year, even if it doesn’t show up on the report card, and you know he or she needs a break. But at the same time, your child probably does better with structure. He probably stays out of trouble when he has something to do and knows what is coming next. For you, the long summer ahead might signal endless days of bored, hyperactive kids.        

 

The following are ideas to help keep your kids busy. Choose those activities that suit their interests. You might want to create an “idea jar” and write down the ideas that might keep your child’s interest. Place them all in a jar and every time you hear “I’m bored” pull an idea out of the jar.  

 

Think about summer camp. If you decide this is a good idea, make sure the camp can handle ADHD kids and are willing to administer medications if your child takes them during the summer. Check out the list of Summer Camp Programs from CHADD. These camps are specialized for kids with ADHD and provide structure, fun and skill-building. For other possible camp suggestions, please visit the American Camp Association website.   ADHD children do need to be busy so see what it offered in your city or town. Often there are recreational programs offered in the summer that will keep your child occupied for at least half of the day.

 

Summer may be bit easy for some families due to the lack of a strict schedule, but ADHD children thrive on schedules. They want to know what they are doing and when. So get together and set up a schedule. It does not have to be written in stone but it will give your child a sense of security knowing what the expectations are and what they will be doing.

 

Often, during the summer, parents decide to take their children off of their medication. Whether or not you do is a family decision to be made in conjunction with your doctor. If you do decide to take them off of meds then please adjust your expectations. They will be more impulsive, they will find it harder to focus, they will be more active, and they will be moodier. This might be a good time to set up new expectations, ones that will make sure your child has a successful summer.

 

This is a great time to plan some family time together. It is best to make sure that whatever you do there is some kind of physical activity involved. Head for the beach or the lake, take a family bicycle ride, go to the zoo, check out an interactive children’s museum. Whatever you decide, remember that your ADHD child needs to move. Find something that you and your child can do calmly together. Once you have tired them out a bit, try playing board games, do a puzzle, or build something out of Legos or blocks. Stay with you child and help them to increase their focus time. This is a great time to reconnect with your child, to just play and enjoy each other. Have a wonderful summer and have fun out there!

 

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Scott Young, MS, CCC, LNC earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing in 1992 and has been a nationally certified Christian Counselor since 2003. Having worked professionally in inpatient psychiatry for 16 years and with children and adults as a mobile therapist, Scott specializes in family counseling, children’s counseling, parenting concerns, individuals with special needs, developmental and learning disabilities, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, anger, social skills, self esteem, depression, and character building. Scott has seen the importance of looking at each person holistically and considers all areas of health when working with clients. Scott earned a doctorate in Naturopathy in 2014 and offers a comprehensive approach to overall health and well-being by integrating counseling, botanical and herbal medicine, naturopathic and holistic medicine, and lifestyle therapy. Scott is passionate about working with children and serving as an advocate for children with special needs.

July 8, 2015

For many of us we are all too aware of the effects of stress and an overly packed daily To Do list. Priorities are put on the list and everything is pushed to the back burner for when we “find the time” and before we know it life so chaotic and we just need a moment to ourselves to recharge. Most people tend to link being alone and creating solitude means being lonely, but the reality is the two are so vastly different. One can be lonely in a crowded room and completely content by themselves. It is important that we all stop every so often and take time to ourselves and be comfortable with just ourselves; no technology or distractions.  Solitude allows us to really listen to our heart, our spirit, and our soul. It provides us the outlet we need to take a journey toward inner peace and find ways to self - heal from the trauma of life.

 

Taking time in solitude can be a scary thing at first. Most of us our so consumed with social media, work, kids, spouse… that even contemplating being alone seems rather frightening. I believe that being okay being alone demonstrates the level of love we possess for ourselves and the level of need for distractions or stimuli.  Being alone can trigger so many emotions, but it is important to allow those emotions to come to the surface to begin the healing process. There are many different exercises one can do to fully reap the benefits that seeking solitude has to offer.

 

At Home:

- Make yourself a praise list of all of your best qualities

- Make yourself a gratitude list of everything you are grateful for in your life

- Light a candle and gaze at the flame 

- Sit with a journal and free write anything that is speaking to you

- Deeply inhale and exhale audibly so that you can hear the rhythm of your own breath

- Practice your favorite yoga style

- Sit in front of the mirror and give self - affirmations out loud. Examples:  I am loved, I am safe, I am at      peace, I am one with the universe.

- Try visually creating your happy place, and go there in your mind. Train your brain to work on a different level than it normally does

 

Outside of your home:

- Go to a museum or art gallery and absorb the beautiful work

- Go to a park and observe the sounds, colors, and smells.

- Lie down on your back and look up at the clouds to marvel at the wonder of all that is

- Go for a walk or hike in nature

- Express gratitude to be able to enjoy such a special time to yourself

 

Some of these exercises may not sound like they would do much, but the benefits will be so noticeable you will wonder why you haven’t taken the time to do this sooner. Try not to put a time frame on your time of solitude, but if you must try and give yourself at least 2 hours. Allow yourself to really contemplate your journey.  With so many things pulling at us in our daily lives, it is easy to lose sight of what truly matters, and what is truly important for us to thrive as human beings. I encourage you to try and seek solitude daily to gain all the insight and benefits that seeking solace in solitude has to offer.

 

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Lindsey McNamara is a traditionally Hatha based yoga teacher who strives to share the simple beauty of yoga with her students in a way that allows them to achieve greater awareness, gratitude, mindfulness, and balance. She believes that we each have the power to heal ourselves and become our best selves through the practice of yoga and is passionate about guiding students through the process of self growth utilizing yoga and mediation practices. 

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