“Acceptance and Adventure without Labels….” by Hazel Hendrickson

This is not really a blog from me, Sally today. To start the New Year I wanted to share the thoughts and experiences expressed by Hazel Hendrickson about her experience at the Be Free Festival with her sister Sammy.

We asked Hazel to share her thoughts and we found them so powerful we wanted to share them. Thanks for agreeing to this Hazel.

Now……I’ll simply hand over to Hazel.

“Jo at Paradigm recently asked me, why I went to Be Free in 2014. I have to admit I went purely to escort and support my sister Samantha who was invited to attend the festival by Sally. I had no expectation of being impacted in any shape or form, in my mind I was only present to chaperone and ensure Sam had a good time.


My first impressions were one of surprise. The volunteers at the car park welcoming and checking in festivalgoers and providing ‘house colours’ sparked my interest. It had a sleek, highly organised, yet friendly and engaging feel to it.

Sammy and Hazel

I got more from those two days than I ever could have imagined.

I realised that adventure and fun is for absolutely everyone…. ‘He (or she) who dares etc…’ Fear, shyness, reservation all of it, are just part of the human experience regardless of our perceived standing. I learned that my sister is brave and so courageous and that I, unknown to myself, was the one caged and imprisoned, to a degree in my own mind.

Sammy Zip

Be Free is a space of total acceptance and adventure without labels. Exploration and adventure is the key. Everyone including family member/supporters will walk away learning something new about themselves.

I saw people’s perception of themselves shift. The first afternoon I saw shyness and reservation, by the last session on the day of departure nobody seemed to want to stop dancing, mingling and chatting including myself…surreal!”

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