Staying connected this summer

January 9, 2022 BY

Good times: While Vern Hardie and Bec Bottros enjoy a dress up, their main goal is to promote connection and wellbeing among young people and couples. Photo: JONATHON MAGRATH

YOU may have noticed them dressed up as Vikings, ninjas, or pirates, but the work Vern Hardie and Bec Bottros do goes beyond dressing up.

The pair run the Connected Circus and Rekindling Relationships, two businesses based around wellbeing and connection.

Last year, the Connected Circus ran several school programs, something Mr Hardie said he is keen to start again this year.

“We run the Connected Circus to teach social and emotional skills, learning skills and communication,” he said.

“We feel home-schooling and lockdown has meant that a lot of kids missed out even more so on those really important life skills.

“It was important for us to be back in schools and being able to help them out and have these programs which allow them to learn how to connect with their peers and communicate and collaborate better.”

At St Peters Primary School last month, Mr Hardie and Ms Bottros held creative activities with grade 5 and 6 students working together to paint supportive messages on a mural.

This school holidays, the Connected Circus is running a school holiday program with Interchange Loddon Mallee, now known as Lifely, for Kalianna School and Bendigo Special Development School.

Mr Hardie said he is keen to get back on the festival scene, joining the Festival Falls Creek event in February and also planning activities for Bendigo’s Easter Festival.

The couple’s second business, Rekindling Relationships, will also focus on growing this year, after nabbing a launchpad grant from the City of Greater Bendigo.

Throughout COVID-19 lockdowns, Mr Hardie and Ms Bottros created a podcast about how couples can communicate and connect better.

“We want to take that into the next realm, which is an online course for parents and couples,” Mr Hardie said.

“It’ll gives parents and couples the opportunity to do this really fun and engaging online course and help their relationship, there’s a lot of online parents courses about communicating with their children but there’s nothing out there about parents communicating with each other.”

Mr Hardie said they will also look to bring their creative date sessions for couples back to Rosalind Park, including a fire twirling workshop early this year.

“It’s our belief that connection and being able to have good communication skills and understand each other is one of the most important things we can do as humans,” he said.

“The more connected we are, the happier we are, the easier our life is and the better our mental health is.”