Bear hunt brings joy amid hard times


A simple idea of a ‘bear hunt’ has taken hold in Canberra’s Gungahlin suburbs, encouraging families to get out and have some fun while still practising social distancing.

bear hunt - boy looking at toy bears in a window
We’re going on a bear hunt: Canberrans have started a ‘bear hunt’ to keep community spirits high.

Amy Pym, president of the Forde Community Association, came across a post on social media about ‘bear hunts’, where residents placed bears on their balconies and in their windows for people to spot while walking by, and decided to implement it in her own suburb.

 “At the moment we’re being bombarded with coronavirus information, and part of my role as president it monitoring social media, our Facebook page, and me making sure we’re getting all the correct information across,” Amy says.

“I was sick of seeing stuff about coronavirus myself, because it’s getting very overwhelming. I happened to flick across to the bear hunt thing, and thought ‘hey this is such an awesome idea for kids’.”

 She says the idea has really taken off, with bears popping up at houses first across Forde, and then other suburbs such as Bonner, Crace and Gungahlin.

“Everyone has been so excited. I’ve been blown away by the response initially on our page … It’s really taken off, everyone just loves the idea.”

 Amy says it’s a great way for families to get out and have some fun and relieve stress, which is being felt by both adults and children, while still ensuring they are adhering to the latest advice from ACT Health.

 “In the current climate, we need some positives, I think … this is just something that can be done that’s still following all the guidelines that have been put in place, with social distancing and isolation if need be, that can bring the community together without all the pressure … something light and happy.

“Even if people are sick or are self-isolating, they can still participate by putting a bear in the window.”

 Amy says other suburbs and communities should “absolutely get on board” with the idea, to spread some much-needed positivity during what’s proving to be an increasingly difficult time for many Canberrans.

“We still need to live, we still need to enjoy our life, we still need to get fresh air and good old Vitamin D. It’s a really good way of putting into place safe practices that have been recommended and still getting exercise by adding a touch of whimsy to it.”

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