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!

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