Wednesday, March 2, 2016

February 28th

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing blog posts from our awesome interns from Coastal Carolina University.  We are so lucky to have their enthusiasm and hope they learn a lot from their experience with us!

This week at Fidelis we had an all boys group come out.  I had a group of three this week who road Tee.  

Tee is my favorite horse to work with because he is very sweet and understanding.  Half of my group had been to Fidelis before so they knew how to groom and tack, but one of my group members had never been to Fidelis before and had never been around horses before.  With support from his teammates and I he got the courage to go near Tee and help groom him.  

Noelle with her favorite horse, Tee.

Teamwork plays a huge role at Fidelis because the kids need teamwork to successfully work together and to complete the task at hand.  All of the kids were very confident once they got onto the horse.  Their favorite things to do was weave through the pole and to trot.  The kids love trotting because they get to go fast and it gives them a sense of freedom.  

Once my entire group was done riding they said that Tee was their new favorite horse and that they couldn’t wait to come back and ride again.  – Noelle 

Heartland Hearts Fidelis!

With each new semester we are blessed with eager interns from Coastal Carolina University.  Over the next few weeks they will be sharing Fidelis through their eyes

This week we had the largest group that we’ve ever had come out!  19 kids came out to Fidelis from Heartland.  I had the littlest group who got to ride our Halflinger pony Ginger.  First I taught the kids how to groom Ginger.  Many of them had never touched a horse before so at first they were a little shy, but once they knew she was harmless they warmed up to her.  Then I taught them how to tack up her up.  

The kids loved that Ginger was a small pony who was their size and that she had lots of mane and tail.  Then it was time to ride.  My group was fearless when it came to riding and quickly picked up all the skills that it took to correctly ride a horse.  

The magic that Fidelis has really showed in my group because when I first meet my group they were extremely shy, but by the end of the day they all became very outgoing and thoroughly enjoyed their day riding at Fidelis.   – Noelle

Monday, November 10, 2014

Through an Intern's Eye: AHA Beach Ride

This week Fidelis had an amazing opportunity to volunteer at the American Heart Association Beach Ride.  We had a spot right by the beach access selling AHA merchandise.  Over the course of the four day event we have reached hundreds of people and have been able to share Fidelis with them.

In addition to selling merchandise from the American Heart Association we also gave away 200 treats homemade by our participants. We bagged up each treat and attached a little information about Fidelis. It has been a great opportunity to get our name out to the public and to different horse people from all over the country. Not only do we get to give out information about Fidelis but we have also been placed on the back of every participant’s t shirt and are included on each promotional display.

On Friday we sold lanterns for the Lantern Release.  When someone purchased a lantern they were able to release them over the ocean in honor of a loved one.
On Saturday 1,500 horses took to the beach in the 33rd Annual Jack Monroe Beach Ride.  There were some local media outlets present at the event and Fidelis was featured on Horse Tales!  It was great to see the horse community come together for this great cause!

We are so thankful to everyone at the American Heart Association who helped us get our name out there! We also appreciate all the time and energy that our volunteers have given us by coming out and helping us.  We donated 60 hours this weekend and could not have done it without you.  Thank you to all of those who spent their time with us giving back to the American Heart Association in honor of Fidelis.  We are also thankful to our new friends on Facebook!  We hope to see and hear from you all soon!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Through an Intern's Eye: Seacoast is here!

This week we had 6 riders from Seacoast Youth Academy come out and ride with us!  The girls were   between the ages of 11 and 16, half of them were return visitors while the other three were joining us for the first time.  After opening up with our prayer and discussing barn rules we moved into the barn to groom and tack up our horses.  This week we used Maya, Yokum, and Tee. Each horse had two girls, one new and one returner who learned how to groom and properly tack up a horse.

In addition to three new riders we also had two new volunteers.  Thank you to Suzanne and Sarah for joining us from Brightwater Retirement Community!  I spoke about them last week when I blogged about the Internship Fair Fidelis attended.  We gained two new volunteers and a court sponsor for our Tennis Tournament.

Volunteers, Abby, Eli, and Emma Kay are helping the girls tack up Yokum.
After tacking up our horses we split up into two groups.  Our first group went out in the arena, today we set up an obstacle course for the riders to navigate their horses around. It was made up cones to weave their horse in and out of, a square for them to turn their horse around in and stop and 2 sets of ground poles to go over. After they were comfortable in the saddle and had completed the obstacle course they did a few laps of trotting.  Obstacle courses are a great challenge because it make our riders think!  They use problem solving techniques and learn to communicate with their horse to get their desired outcome.

A view of our obstacle course from this week.
While half of the girls were riding the other half were working with Sybil.  It is amazing to see Sybil work with these young adults.  Today the focus was on self-esteem.  To help the girls build confidence Sybil had them create a crest.  She shared about her experience in the PeaceCorps and how the citizens of Swaziland represented themselves though their crests.  Each girl was given a blank crest and asked to fill it in with pictures that answered the following questions.

What animal best represents you and why? 
Draw a picture that represents where you want to be in 5 years.
Draw a picture that represents your past.
Draw something that represents your ideal future. 

Sybil leading group this week!
I got to listen in on some of the discussions and I was amazed at the discussions Sybil was having.  The girls had great insight and provided some really thought provoking answers.  They were able to decorate their shields and bring them home as a reminder of where they came from and what their future holds! Our volunteers did a great job, leading by example and sharing some of their experiences.  It is important for youth to have a diverse perspective and our volunteers did just that during this activity.

We are very thankful for the staff at Seacoast Youth Academy.  One staff member volunteered her time so that the girls could come this week!  That tells me that they value the service we are providing to their residents.  Thank you to that staff member for being so dedicated to our program!

We had an amazing turnout of volunteers today!  19 in total! Special thanks to Lucy for stepping in and working hard with our riders out in the arena! We are always thankful that our volunteers are always willing to step in when needed.  Our volunteers are the reason we can continue to provide these awesome opportunities!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Through an Intern's Eye: Searching for my Replacement

This week Sybil, Nicole and I were able to attend an internship fair that was being held at Coastal Carolina University. In the past when I have attended this event I was looking for an internship. This time it was different being on the other recruiting volunteers and possibly an intern for next semester after graduation. This opportunity allowed us to not only look for individuals who are interested in our organization but also meet businesses who may be interested in assisting us.
Here is our booth at Coastal Carolina University's 2014 Health, Hospitality and Recreation Internship Fair
Our time was well spent! We met a few people who will be a great addition to Fidelis. We had the chance to talk to different people who will bring diversity to our program. I was surprised to see how many of the people who signed up actually had past experience with horses.
Not only did we get a few new volunteers to add to our organization, we also got the chance to network! I personally met a nice business woman who works for a company in Myrtle Beach. She had previously heard of Fidelis and was enthusiastic about giving her time and volunteering with us! She also helped us by getting her company to contribute a court sponsorship for our upcoming tennis tournament which is less than a month away!
Fairs like this are just one more way that we can get out into the public to tell people about what it is that we at Fidelis! If you are reading this post and know of a way we can share our organization to a group of individuals please let us know!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Through an Intern's Eye: October 20th

This Sunday we hosted Heartland at Fidelis. It was a relatively small group of three riders which gave us more time for the kids to ride in the ring. All 3 riders had been to Fidelis before so they knew what they had to do to get the horses ready to ride. After grooming and tacking up we all went in to the arena to ride for about an hour. It started out with the normal mounting and riding around the arena getting use to each horse and learning the regular commands.

I personally worked from the start with a four year old named Liam. Liam had absolutely no fear getting involved with the horses. He helped us groom and tack up Yokum and then we were the first ones out into the arena. We got him up on Yokum and his feet just barely reached the stirrups. Liam after about 20 minutes knew exactly what to do, he was able to make Yokum stop and go by himself.
It was great seeing this young rider be able to show that he could control Yokum and that he could get the results he wanted from him. At the beginning he was on the quieter side, by the end he knew that if he spoke loud and clearly he could get his desired results from Yokum. When I asked him how he felt to control an animal 33 times his size, he replied, "Awesome!" Yokum, responded so well to this tiny equestrian, it is clear to see why he is a barn favorite!

While I did not work hands on with the other two riders they looked like they were having a blast! They were older then Liam and could nudge the horses along when they wanted to go. I watched them while I was waiting in line to do the obstacle course that Ms. Joy had set up in the arena and they did great. They were able to tell their horse where they needed to be and when to stop, when to turn and when to walk on.
This was my first time working with Heartland Hospice and even though we did not have that many riders I think the event went great! Everyone was able to work hands on with the riders and really form a connection. It was also a great opportunity for our two new volunteers who came to be able to watch what we do at Fidelis.

Through an Intern's Eyes: Fall Fun!

This past weeks event was another great one! We had 7 riders join us from Peggy's Kids. This is my second time working with these young riders and they did just as great this time as they did last time. Peggy's Kids was the first group that I ever worked with when I started my internship with Fidelis. In my previous experience with non profits I never really got to work hands on with the people of the group so it is a nice change for me to be able to work with different populations.

After meeting and grooming our horses the 7 riders split up into small groups. One group started out riding and the other group put together scarecrow like pumpkins. I thought the design for the pumpkins was pretty cool, the riders had a design they could follow on the package but most of them went with their own designs. It was really interesting to see how some of them decided to design their pumpkin scarecrows. Some had very little on it, and some had so much hair it was layer on top of layer. Not only did the riders get to enjoy making a pumpkin, but I also saw a few volunteers get in there and design one!

Peggy’s Kids have been coming to the barn for a while now, so out in the Arena they know what they are suppose to do. We were lucky enough to have a lot of volunteers to help assist in the arena. With a volunteer on each side, the riders walked around the arena, then trotted for a few laps. We also practiced stopping our horses and instructing them to hug the fence. At the end we set up a few obstacle type courses for the riders to ride their horses around, such as barrels and zigzagging through cones.

Not only did we have a lot of riders last week but we also had a lot of volunteers! We had probably 5 or 6 new volunteers which is great! Most of them had come from Coastal Carolina University and they jumped right in to helping out! It is always great to see that people can come out to volunteer and dive straight in without any hesitation.  All in all we had another very successful time with Peggy’s Kids!