Our friends at Boomerang are providing a great service for semi-retired and retired people. We know this age category covers both some of our caregivers, and their aging parents. Boomerang was doing exciting work pre-COVID-19. And with the pandemic, they have more than risen to the occasion by offering online experiences. These experiences offer skill development and foster social connections.
- Their positive message about aging.
They refer to retirement and semi-retirement as an opportunity to “…begin or continue the process of living life with a purpose.” This counters an ageist perspective that treats aging and getting older as all bad news.
- They foster social connections.
Through workshops , Boomerang provides a concrete solution to a problem that can develop for both caregivers and those they are caring for – social isolation and loneliness. At Elizz, we promote social connectedness at every opportunity.
- Their workshops are an affordable avenue to learn new skills.
What we know is that learning new skills is key to brain health as we age.
We connected with Anelynda Mielke-Gupta (Ane), Co-Founder of Boomerang, to learn more about Boomerang’s history, future plans, and how people of retirement and semi-retirement age can benefit from becoming a member.
Initially, we asked a few questions we imagined you might have, and then reconnected with Ane to get an update on how Boomerang has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What exactly is Boomerang?
Boomerang offers a range of in-person workshops in Toronto (currently on hold because of COVID-19). In response to physical distancing measures, Boomerang has extended its offerings to include online experiences . As a result, Boomerang is now available to a larger audience across Canada and has ramped up the number of experiences offered each week.
Membership is free and members can both learn new skills or earn a little extra money by teaching as a “Host” which is Boomerang’s name for instructors. Members can request a type of workshop, and if there’s sufficient interest, Boomerang finds a venue and host for the workshop. This brings to mind the multitude of skills daughters and sons so proudly told us about in Mother’s Day and Father’s Day posts on Elizz.
Have some extra time on your hands given your limited access to the world outside your home? Do you know a small business owner who might want to share a skill like coffee brewing, plant care, yoga or something else relevant to their business to build their audience while doors are closed due to social distancing? Perhaps you want to consider becoming a host. It’s a great way to earn some extra money and Boomerang staff even help with tech support and promotion of your workshop.
What are some examples of workshops offered by Boomerang?
Workshops are offered in three categories to appeal to many different interests:
- Book clubs
- Jewellery making and repair
- Sketching and painting
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Coffee brewing 101
- Terrarium making
- Cooking & baking
- Pickling, canning & fermenting
Is there a cost to attend workshops?
All of Boomerang’s online experiences are free for a limited time. It’s free to become a Boomerang member, where you can access all of the experiences.
What was the drive behind Boomerang?
Boomerang is based on the research around ageing and the threat of loneliness and social isolation for people in retirement. With the intention to combat this threat, the goal of Boomerang is, in Ane’s own words “…to provide a social cushion for those people looking at their retirement and thinking that it feels like walking off a cliff.” Social cushion. What a fantastic description!
To give people a chance to make meaningful connections, both the physical and online workshops are kept to a small number of attendees.
Where are Boomerang workshops available? Are there any plans for expansions?
The plan is to physically expand to more areas in the GTA and beyond. Ane recognizes that “… loneliness and social isolation is a universal problem, and we are excited at the prospect of bringing Boomerang to a wider audience.” In fact, Boomerang has been able to reach a wider audience faster than they originally imagined through their online workshops, which have been accessed by audiences right across Canada.
What kind of feedback have you received to date?
Boomerang collects feedback after each workshop. Ane reports that the feedback has been “overwhelmingly positive” and that a number of referrals come from word of mouth and through Boomerang’s referral program. Anelynda says,“We know people are sharing with their friends, which is awesome!” Further, Ane describes the reception to the online workshops has been equally incredible. Clearly, they are meeting a need!
How would daughters and sons caring for their aging parents AND their parents benefit from Boomerang?
According to Ane, Boomerang is definitely suitable for daughters and sons of ageing parents, as well as the ageing parents themselves. They have estimated that the average age of members is about 58, but Boomerang does welcome both younger and older audiences.
One thing that caught our attention at Elizz is Ane’s reference to intergenerational sharing and connections that take place organically at Boomerang workshops. We love this because at Elizz we are always looking at ways to foster intergenerational connections.
What would you like to share about Boomerang with our Elizz readers?
“Boomerang is for you! We want your input, your feedback, and would love to see you at a Boomerang workshop soon. We understand how important it is to have safe, accessible, caring environments where you can learn something new and de-stress. We aim to create comforting spaces for our members.”
If you are interested in becoming a host, all the information you need, including the application form, is available here.
Curious? Want a sneak peek of one of the workshops? You can watch some of their Challah Bread Making Experience.
What skill would you like to learn or teach? Let us know!