BON Newsletter Post Conference 2015
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What's Happening Inside the BONewsletter!
Message from the Chair
The 2015 BON Conference Report
The 2015 John D. Morgan Memorial Conference Scholarship Recipient
Thank you to our 2015 Conference Committee
Special Thank you to our 2015 BON Conference Sponsors
Resources to Share
About BON

Message from the Chair

Hello BON!

In this issue of the Post-Conference BONewsletter, I want to offer a big thank you to all who attended the conference, all who organized the conference and all who presented at the conference. 
For me, the 2015 BON Conference was a time to reconnect with colleagues, self and nature.  It was a time to network and learn.  The painting, the speakers and workshops, the book room, the labyrinth, the social, the auction, the food, all of these aspects of the annual conference are what make it such an extraordinary event. 
As the Chair of the Board, I would like to let you all know that the AGM this year went well and that your new BON Board of Directors is made up of: Chair - Cindy Elkerton, Vice Chair - Marny Williams-Balodis, Secretary/Treasurer - Rev’d Grant Churcher, Members at Large - Susan McCoy, Sharon O’Donnell and Monica Do Coutto Monni.  Bon also has a wonderful Administrative Assistant ~ Kelly Teigrob who we are so very lucky to have; she keeps us organized and on track.  I look forward to another year working with this fantastic group of dedicated and competent professionals!
The Board is planning to meet for an all-day planning day on Saturday, November 21st and we are always open to receiving your feedback.  Please feel free to connect with any one of us, anytime to let us know what is on your mind regarding BON. 
Peace and Blessings,
Cindy Elkerton, BON Chair

2015 BON Conference Report



Back to the Future: Exploring Changes in Grief

and Bereavement. 

Dear BON Members,
It is hard to believe that a month has already passed since we gathered in the beautiful spaces of Geneva Park YMCA.  As this was the 25th anniversary of the conference, it was the hope of the Board and Conference Committee that we provide a particularly memorable experience for the participants who chose to join us.   It was our goal to inform, inspire and unite BON members and presenters alike.

A number of you had expressed a strong interest in the opportunity to have Dr. Therese Rando speak at conference.  Dr. Rando’s work as a grief clinician, researcher, writer and renowned speaker is widely known.  And so, we decided we must bring her to Canada!  In response to her presence, attendance at Pre-Conference was higher this year.  Those who attended were treated to a full day workshop with Dr. Rando, who focused on two key areas of her practice and research - trauma and anxiety in grief.   Dr. Rando provided the participants a valuable understanding of the mechanisms of trauma and anxiety, current research on their effects, and guidelines for support to clients.  Her animated style, interesting anecdotes, and sense of humour made for a very informative and lively presentation. 

This year, we took a slightly different approach to opening the Full Conference.  Once our participants had the chance to settle into their rooms and have a meal, we invited them to pick up a paint brush.  With support and guidance from the first Plenary speaker, Nicole Fantin, the brave participants put paint to white canvas, and created their own expressive arts piece.  The remarkable final works were as individual as the many people who created them.  

On Thursday, after the early risers enjoyed a yoga session and everyone was well fed, plenary speaker Stephen Garrett provided a lively and thought provoking perspective on the ways our western society has approached end-of-life and bereavement support in the past, present, and his hopes for the future.  As one participant remarked, Stephen offered ‘a lot of food for thought’.  A busy day of workshops  followed. 

In response to your feedback from past years, we allowed some extra time before dinner to relax and replenish.Some participants took advantage of the nice fall weather to go out for a walk in the woods, or take a well-deserved nap.  Still others chose to peruse the Mandela Book Store or spend quiet moments in the Labyrinth, and we are so thankful to have these opportunities at the conference again this year

After dinner, the business of BON was conducted, the AGM.  Many thanks to members and non-members alike for your patience during this necessary meeting.  Happily, with the end of the AGM came the opportunity to network at a casual gathering, the silent auction and party.  Given the many generous donations brought by Susan McCoy and our participants, there was something for everyone to bid on at the auction.   This gathering was a great chance for new and seasoned members of BON to socialize, share ideas and network.  The party ended with a wonderful relaxed BONfire on a beautiful fall evening. 

On Friday, there were more workshops followed by our closing plenary.  Andrew Blake helped make the idea of exploring self-awareness and mindful meditation less daunting.  He sent the participants home with the message of importance to be tuned into our own needs and well-being even as we support others.  Afterward, Andrew joined a table of participants for lunch.  In parting the conference he commented on the positive energy and social connections he witnessed at BON, which can tend to be missing at large conferences.

BON is an organization which aims to embrace collaboration as a core value. This year, we were approached by Canadian Virtual Hospice, as they are developing key end-of-life and bereavement modules which will be universally accessible.  In this vein, we were happy to have the BON participants, participate in ‘testing out’ the grief and loss tool currently in development by this organization, and provide important feedback for preliminary evaluation.

In planning the Full Conference, as in past years, the committee aimed to have a lineup of plenaries and workshops which would be sure to offer a wide array of topics.  We set the bar high for our presenters.  They were to provide both historical and forward thinking perspectives, relevant current research findings, and tangible tools to integrate in practice.  Feedback from the participants has been generally positive, so it is our hope that we didn’t disappoint.  We are grateful to those who took a few minutes to complete the conference evaluations.  This is a key tool for participants to have a voice and let us know what worked, what didn’t and your great ideas going forward.

While the feedback from participants has been fairly positive with regard to continuing the provincial conference, it must be noted that our numbers at conference reflect only a small percentage of the members of BON.  As in past years, we will need to review the efficacy of providing a provincial conference.  Consideration will be seriously given by the BON Board regarding ways that we can ensure  all members have opportunities for educational development and networking in the future.

Finally, many thanks to the membership, for allowing us the opportunity to plan and organize the 2015 conference.

The 2015 BON Conference Committee

The 2015 John D. Morgan Memorial Conference Scholarship Recipient

Hello, my name is Joshua Black and I received the Dr. John D. Morgan Scholarship for the 2015 BON conference. I am in my second year of my PhD in Psychology at Brock University. My research is investigating dreams in bereavement. Specifically, I am focused on dreams that have the deceased present. I felt extremely privileged to receive this scholarship, as it provided me an experience that I would not have received otherwise. Additionally, I was grateful to facilitate a workshop on dreams in bereavement.
I have attended many conferences during my academic career and this conference was by far one of my favourites. The conference setting (Geneva Park YMCA Conference Centre) was a refreshing change. I particularly enjoyed being so close to nature and the water and used the opportunity to reflect on my own loss as well as the countless others who share my experience. I had the chance to meet so many caring, passionate and kindhearted individuals that work with the bereaved. I look forward to attending this conference every year moving forward. Thank you BON for this amazing opportunity.

A Special Thanks to Our 2015 Conference Committee


A couple years ago I attended my first BON Conference.  At that time, I had little knowledge of the ‘behind the scenes’ workings of BON.  I met some great people, enjoyed the conference, and headed back to my life. 

Last fall I accepted the mantle of conference chair, which had been held for several years by Janet Devine.  I quickly realized that I had been completely oblivious to the fact that the BON Conference is organized almost entirely by volunteers.  I soon gained much respect for Janet and her years of hard work toward this organization.

I would like to thank the following members of the committee for their time, for sharing their experience and knowledge from past conferences, and for their creative ideas toward a successful three days in beautiful Orillia:  Marny Balodis, Susan McCoy, Jill Dombrowski, Brianne Jourdin, and Mary Lee Felder. 

Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank Kelly Teigrob, the BON secretary.  Without Kelly, there would not have been a conference.   She demonstrated unending patience with my many foolish questions and last minute demands, and she went over and above her role to ensure that the many administrative details were taken care of to perfection.   She was the glue that held the conference together.  Thank you Kelly. 

Sharon O’Donnell
2015 BON Conference Chair

A Special Thank You to Our 2015 BON Conference Sponsors

In this era of lower profit margins and tighter budgets, it is increasingly difficult to donate toward non-profits.   Hence, we are ever more grateful to those individuals and companies who chose to provide financial assistance and donations in-kind.  Their contributions helped to make the 2015 BON Conference a great success.
Sincerest thanks to Audrey Henderson, whose financial contribution ensured that we were able to offer an opportunity to replenish with the Guided Nature Walk.
Many thanks to Brenda Marshall of The Solacium Group, and Dignity Memorial Funeral Home for donating items to the Conference bags. 

Dignity Memorial Funeral Home generously sponsored this year’s Expressive Arts Workshop.   Many thanks to Colleen Bone for facilitating contributions from Dignity Memorial.
Newediuk Funeral Home kindly return trip transportion for the Pre-Conference speaker from Toronto

Finally, thanks to Bill Guest, CEO, CCR Solutions for providing Audio Visual Equipment for all workshops

Click for listing and contact information of our Regional Representatives and their regions.

BON Regional Representatives are the face of BON in the 16 Regions of Ontario.

With the members of their region, they provide the vital service of finding and connecting people involved in bereavement care and education in their part of Ontario. They bring the news of BON to its members and the ideas and concerns of its members to the Board. Regional Reps help members get to know one another and share news (conferences, workshops, new books, and highlights) with one another. They find ways to connect members of the public with the services of local BON members. As the annual conference approaches, they ensure members and member organizations are aware of all of the ways to participate, attend and enjoy the conference to the fullest. Regional Representatives ensure that the Network that is BON is a vital force of connection to the people and resources that care for those who mourn in Ontario. Regional Representatives are able to attend the annual conference at cost. Being a Regional Representative provides an opportunity to make a real contribution to the grief, loss and bereavement work in one’s region and the province. You become part of a team of dedicated, passionate and visionary care providers. It is rewarding work.

We would like to know whether this is something that might interest you individually or as a team or perhaps you could help put us in touch with some possible candidates in your region.

With sincere thanks, Marny Williams
BON Vice Chair, Regional Rep Liaison
Email: Marny for more info

There are Regional Rep openings available for Grey Bruce Region, Halton Peel Region, North West Region, Sudbury-Sault Ste. Marie Region, and Toronto region (co-rep). Please consider joining our great team!

Check out the updated BON Regions & Regional Representative List

Resources to Share

  • Surviving Loss provides a movie series that can be utilized by the bereave, in various ways for hospice and grief organizations and on the college and university level. Click here for a preview: The Secret Map of Surviving Loss 
  • Open to Hope is a website where people can share inspirational stories of loss and love. There are links to Open to Hope articles, Open to Hope tv series and their radio series, Grief Relief.
  • Tips for Handling the Holidays a webinar from Compassionate Friends and Open to Hope.
  • Inside Out is a movie about a young girl who has to move and all the emotions going on inside out.  While it is slower paced than the high action packed adventure movies most little boys are into, it is a great one to talk about how joy and sadness are intertwined and the impact of anger, doubt/fear and disgust. This movie could easily be used as part of a children/pre-teen bereavement program or one session event. There are many online resources to utilize this movie as a way to talk about emotions: Colouring pages, emotions around the world, insideout mini book and door knob hangers.
  • Christmas is a time when many do not want to venture out into the mall. Online shopping is a great suggestion. For a suggestion - consider the box of the month club. There are gratitude boxes where cards arrive at your door step so you can send encouragement to others.  Or if someone you love, likes socks, send them a new pair of socks each month. Know someone who could use monthly cheering up by having a cup of specialty coffee or tea?  There's a box for that and various options for all ages.  It is also something people can look forward to each month.

About BON

Our Mission

Bereavement Ontario Network is a network of individuals, groups, and organizations which, through the exchange of ideas, resources, and energy, is dedicated to helping the bereaved and the dying.


Bereavement Ontario Network (BON) is a diverse group of organizations and individuals across Ontario that work in the field of grief and bereavement as professionals and volunteers.


BON provides opportunities to access, in a reciprocal manner, the knowledge, experience, wisdom, and sensitivity of other members in Ontario. You can use BON to access this support for your clients and yourself.


Membership in the Bereavement Ontario Network is open to individuals, volunteer organizations, small business, and corporations. If your work brings you in contact with bereaved individuals, BON can help you to help them.


BON offers an annual conference, a directory of members, this newsletter, website, and the services of volunteer regional representatives. These representatives are available to answer questions and to refer you to available resources within your region.

Stay Connected with BON

Bereavement Ontario Network

174 Oxford Street

Woodstock, ON N4S 6B1

Telephone 519-290-0219





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