MDPAC Spring Retreat

4:00 PM May 12 - 1:00 PM May 14, 2023

Physician Self-Care - The Power of Play

Location: Ecology Retreat Centre Hockley Valley
              308046 Hockley Road, Mono ON L9W 6N2

Facilitators: Cameron Algie, Beth Foster, and MDPAC Committee/Members


Spring Time!  Play Time!

As we continue to emerge from this pandemic feeling weary and worried we recognize the need to add an element of play, creativity, and being in the moment to help us not only recharge but to find ways to move forward when we are feeling burdened.  When we do so we can pass this down to our patients as well.  In the beautiful surroundings of the Hockley Valley we will spend time together learning and experiencing a variety of self-care modalities focused on this theme.  Cameron Algie will take us through a day of Improv and Beth Foster will guide us through a morning of Forest Bathing.  In between our MDPAC committee/members will lead us through Meditation on Future Self, Sensory Awareness training, and Poetry and Sound.

The retreat centre will be for our exclusive use including the wonderful outdoor surroundings ie. hiking trails, fire pit and for the brave the spring fed dipping pond!  All participants will have their own rooms,  the food is excellent and dietary needs can be met.



Purpose and Nature of the Retreat
This annual retreat which has been shifted from a fall to a spring retreat will be a hybrid format blending a mix of committee/member facilitated modules and two modules presented by outside experts. The committee/member facilitators are not experts but psychotherapists who have a keen interest and expertise in their particular modalities. Our focus will be on practices that build resilience through self-care.


Friday Evening

7:00 - 9:00 pm

Land Acknowledgement with Clayton Shirt, Native Elder

Future Self Workshop with Heidi Walk

There is a saying that who we are in the present is, our future self against the backdrop of our past. Another saying is that all new ideas and innovations come from the future. In Einstein’s words “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”. In this workshop we will explore and discover our future self as a consciousness not just a concept. We will first engage in two experiential exercises to uncover our intentions and desires for the future through the lenses of needs and values. We will then move through a guided visualisation to meet our future self.

Objective: To introduce ourselves to the concept of a future self. To experience an aspect of ourselves that is beyond what we currently know and imagine ourselves to be. To discover and uncover new potentials and possibilities which will inspire hope and promote resilience and wellbeing in the present.



9:00-10:30 am, 11:00 am-12:00 pm, 1:30-3:00 pm

Improv Workshop with Cameron Algie

Improv skills are life skills. Every interaction we have is created on the spot. So there’s a benefit to every aspect of our daily lives .

But more specific examples include:
Effective communication and listening skills (truly connect)
Better able to adapt to the unexpected (resiliency)
Thinking quicker on your feet/going off the training script (mental flexibility)
Creativity and storytelling (being present vs. planning ahead)
Stress reduction and increased confidence (sense of well-being)

On top of all of that, it’s fun!


About Cameron Algie

Cameron is an improviser, writer, Professor of presentation skills, and communications trainer.

He founded Play with Fire Improv and developed Second City Toronto’s Improv for Anxiety Program, where he is Lead Facilitator & Instructor. Since 2013, his classes have helped hundreds of people with their anxiety, and his corporate workshops have helped companies like Pfizer, Capital One, Doxim, Autodesk, and Über with team building and communication. In addition to teaching new skills, Cameron helps people understand the psychology behind why we do what we do.

He has been interviewed by the BBC, CBC, Marilyn Denis Show, The Carla Collins Show and others about how improv helps with mental wellness. As a performer he has toured North America, and now teaches online to people all over the world.


3:30-5:00 pm

Sensory Awareness Training with Carlos Yu

By staying present you can overcome the challenge of overthinking about the past, worrying about the future, and being overwhelmed by intense thoughts and feelings. In that new freedom you can discover your unique gifts and uncover self-compassion. “No matter what you are going through, we invite you to come and experience what it is like to live more in the present moment.”

Objective: The practice of Anapana meditation will teach one how to stay in the present by increasing awareness to sensations of the natural breath.


7:00 - 9:00 pm

Poetry and Sound with George Lewis

The focus of our time together this weekend is on our self-care. So often as physicians we are ‘there’ for our patients. Saturday evening is a chance to be there for ourselves and each other.

Objective: To celebrate our own unique self-care journeys via our own words, music and poems.



9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Forest Bathing with Beth Foster

The Benefits: We all know how much better we feel after time spent in nature. Our ancestors knew it too. Humans have a biological need to connect with nature, called biophilia, from the Greek meaning ‘love of life and the living world.’ Birdsong, the scent of pine trees, the sparkle of sunlight and mystery of shadow, the softness of moss offer us comfort, calmness, restoration. They ease our stress, lighten out anxiety, help us to relax, to think with greater clarity and creativity, to revitalize, rejuvenate and rekindle our sense of joy and awe. We even sleep better and may have more interesting dreams. Studies have demonstrated a wide array of health benefits from Forest Bathing experiences, especially in the cardiovascular and immune systems, and for stabilizing and improving mood and cognition. We build on those benefits and look beyond, to what happens when people remember that we are a part of nature, not separate from it, and are related to all other beings in fundamental ways.

Your Guide Beth Foster:
Having wandered in the woods all my life, I delight in educating and guiding others to an awareness and understanding of the healing power of nature and trees as a tool for peace and prosperity. I believe that, in order to restore balance to our planetary and emotional health, we must reignite a deeper and sustainable connection between humans and the earth.
Whether you need to problem-solve, unwind, be creative or replenish your soul, peace and restoration in nature awaits. With decades of interest and experience in outdoor education, counselling, drama and improv, I look forward to guiding you to a quieter calmer place, both inwardly and externally. I am fully certified as a Guide as well as a Trail Certification Consultant through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides since 2018, and a member of the Ontario College of Teachers with a Master’s in Education.

“The forest is the therapist; the guide opens the doors."



2:00 - 12:30 pm

Wrap up and integration of modules, shared experiences and feedback on the weekend






Limited to 22 participants.

COVID COMPLIANCE: Participants must agree to comply with Ontario Public Health Guidelines and to follow the systems and protocols in place at the venue.



Cancellation by registrants must be received by April 15 2023 for a full refund. Cancellations received between April 15 and May 1 will receive a refund less a $50 admin fee. Refunds received after ay 1 and no shows will be responsible to pay the full fee.

If the event is cancelled by MDPAC or the Centre due to restrictions imposed by Ontario Public Health Guidelines, all registration fees will be refunded in full.



Approved for 12.5 hours of MDPAC Group CE credits and 2 hours of MDPAC CCI credits



Registration fee includes full program fees, single room and meals


$600 Early bird fee (Before March 31 2023)
$650 Late fee

$700 (Available after April 1, if space permits)



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