"We're going on a bear hunt" is a well-known phrase from a childhood book and now Tamworth families can get in on the fun. Jes Potts created the Bear Hunt Tamworth group on social media to join in on the nationwide phenomenon. The idea is residents place a bear, or any plush toy, in their front window for children to find on their walks while we are social distancing. "I saw it on a Facebook post one day, and I thought what a cute idea because I have a toddler and know he would love it," Ms Potts said. "I had a look if any local pages were doing it already but couldn't find any, so I started one for Tamworth, and it blew up so fast. "We had over 400 people join the group in less than 24 hrs." Ms Potts said anyone could get involved, and it's a great way to enhance community spirit. "All you have to do to be involved is put a teddy bear in a front window of your house, you can let us know on the Facebook page what street you're in, and then kids can have fun trying to find the bears on their bear hunt," she said. "Either on a walk or drive, following social distancing of course.
"I think at a time where there is a lot of fear and isolation, and we haven't been able to socialise as we normally would, it is important to feel a part of the community still. "We can use social media for something positive, and it gives the kids something exciting to do, something to look forward to, encourage exercise and be able to get out of the house safely." Ms Potts said working as a nurse the days can get stressful, particularly with this pandemic. "I have a three-year-old and 10-month-old at home, so having the teddy bear hunt encourages us to get outside and exercise," she said. "It's a great stress reliever for me, and my toddler loves it so much, every morning he says 'mum let's go on a bear hunt'. "It gives him something to look forward to when all his usual activities have stopped. We went for a walk last night, and nearly every house in our street had a bear out, everyone who was out kept their distance, but all said hello, it's nice to feel that such a simple task has such a big effect on everyone, keeping everyone smiling in a hard time."
Kimberly Nagle, the owner of Tamworth Tech Camp, is one of the mums to get involved by placing a wombat in her window as well as taking her son on bear hunts. "I have a five-year-old son, and we have been going on bear hunts and have seen quite a few," she said. "It promotes the feeling of being connected while we are self-isolating and makes us feel not so alone. "We go for walks so that physical activity is both good for mental and physical health." Ms Nagle has even created a collaborative map for people to use to notify others they are part of the hunt, or to look at a route to take. She said people are welcome to add their address or contact her at Tamworth Tech Camp and she will add it for them.