Introducing Ginny Stevens our Fitness expert
Hello I’m Ginny Stevens and I live on a farm at Mangoplah, southern NSW with my husband Andy, our 18 month old twins, Henry & Isabella and our black Labrador Bonnie.
I grew up on a farm in Tasmania and have always been passionate about farming, health & fitness and community. After working on a cattle station in the NT, studying Ag Science and an eight year Agri banking career I became concerned about the high prevalence of mental illness & suicide amongst the farming communities I love. I decided to start a NFP health promotion charity called Active Farmers with the vision of building stronger and more resilient farming communities. Today I remain the CEO of Active Farmers and am super excited to be part of another team, PATH working together to make a difference to the lives of Regional Australian’s.
What is your area of expertise?
I really am a bit the ‘jack of all trades’, however I specialise in personal training and bringing communities together to take their health seriously, from both a physical and mental health perspective. I also specialise in bringing people together to work as a team so that expertise can be pooled to achieve better outcomes.
How did you come to be working in this field?
When I had not long moved to the farm at Mangoplah and I was going for a run around the farm. I was reflecting about how saddened I was about the high prevalence of mental illness and suicide amongst the farming communities that I have grown to love. I was also reflecting on the influence that participating in a team sport has had on my life. When you participate in a team sport you not only work on improving your physical health, but you also surround yourself with a team of people who come together regularly to train, but also look out for each other. The team notice if someone doesn’t turn up to train, they notice of someone isn’t themselves and this builds a very strong foundation of support and resilience which combined with physical health has an amazing positive influence on mental health, without even realising.
From that moment my life changed (2015), I got my personal training certificate online and started instructing Active Farmers classes at Mangoplah. Today we service 32 small farming communities in almost every state and our vision remains the same ‘the build stronger and more resilient farming communities. Over the past few years the service has evolved to include health related workshops such as mindfulness and nutrition, plus online health & wellbeing challenges.
Regional Australians now more than ever are isolated, lacking in health services and are suffering from ill health, both mentally and physically. This passion has lead me to want to do more and the team of PATH was born! Our team is made up of all the health experts who have previously contributed to Active Farmers and we are very excited about broadening our reach to more regional Australian’s.
What do you love about your work?
Number 1 is that I love helping people! I have always prioritised my own health, and therefore I want other people to know how much better they can feel if they look after themselves.
There is nothing more rewarding than seeing people light up when they finish an exercise class, or learn about healthy eating or mindfulness! I absolutely love helping people achieve better health and live happier lives, and I also love to see communities thrive.
Community resilience is vital in the bush and I also love seeing communities become more connected and caring for each other which is achieved when they get together regularly
Tell us about your interest in working with regional families and workplace.
Being born and bred on a farm I am so passionate about the health and wellbeing of farmers and Regional Australia. Ultimately these are the people who feed and clothe our country and we must look after them for the sustainability of the Ag Industry. These people are also some of the most genuine and down to earth people who deserve access to quality health services, regardless of where they live.
This passion has carried over to the formation of PATH, which focuses on the health and wellbeing of Regional Australians by a team of health experts.
What do you value about working as a Path team member. How is this an advantage for rural clients?
Prior to launching PATH, all of our amazing team have provided some form of service to Active Farmers. I am very protective of my Active Farmers Network and chose very carefully who we work with. Over the years the PATH team have worked together and realise the strength of our team and service offering when we work together.
We have all had first hand experience about what it’s like to live in the bush and we all understand the challenges these people face. Given we have this insight we know which services are lacking, we know what the health statistics are saying and we believe we collectively can make a difference to many more people than we already do.
What do you love to do when you are not working?
When I’m not working (which is not often as I love my work so much that it’s just part of my day to day life), I like to be outside running, walking, horse riding or skiing (water and snow).