As I sat around the crackling campfire with my campers this summer, I was filled with amazement as they began to share their stories. One particular girl stood out to me. I knew some of her background as she’d been to Horse Camp for a number of years, but this year was different. She had a sparkle in her eye as she told of the way God had helped her through her struggles and she boldly encouraged the other kids to trust and seek Him. Her passion and heartfelt care for the others who she knew were struggling, brought them hope. Her story pointed to God, our amazing Father who used her passion for horses to draw her close to Him.
We often use the illustration of a horse and rider as a picture of the relationship God longs to have with us. Just like we as riders long for our horses to trust and obey us so that we can have harmony together, so God longs for us to trust and obey Him so that we can reach the full potential He has for us. When the horse trusts us and takes that step of faith, we are filled with pride and joy over the bond we have established with them. Sometimes hard and challenging circumstances come across our paths in life and God longs for us to trust Him and follow Him through those trials.
I am thankful that God uses Warm Beach Camp and our horses to show campers they can have hope and love in God.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” - Romans 15:13
For a list of the year-round lessons and camps for 2019, see www.WBHorsemanship.com
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center
Nearly choking back tears, the crew foreman for Synergy Construction described how meaningful it was to watch little Ashley Schreiber mount the big black draft horse, Freya. His crew had just spent three days at Warm Beach Camp Stables building an elaborate ramp, complete with hand rails, a mounting platform, fencing, and gates, to create a safe space for mobility challenged riders to mount their horses.
With ease, Ashley was able to transfer from her wheelchair to the back of a horse with assistance. Once on the horse, Ashley proceeded with her adaptive vaulting lesson, performing her moves for the King 5 Evening Magazine film director, while the construction workers watched with awe. If you missed King 5’s Evening Magazine broadcast about the Rampathon project at Warm Beach Camp, check it out online.
The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish County sponsored their 25th Annual “Rampathon.” Synergy Construction answered the call to be the builders. Out of 149 applicants, 50 projects were chosen where people needed ramps built for wheelchair access. Ginger Reitz, Assistant Horsemanship Director at Warm Beach Camp, got wind of this effort and submitted an application. Our prayers were answered.
Synergy Construction workers volunteered their time. Dunn Lumber, Matthews Lumber, and Stanwood Redi Mix donated materials. Over three days, the ramp became a reality in the north end of the Warm Beach Camp Stables indoor riding arena.
A mounting station is critical for serving a wide range of needs through our new Therapeutic Horsemanship program. Ashley Schreiber, a member of our Warm Beach Equestrian Vaulters, now has a more comfortable and safe way to get on her vaulting horse. Our dream is that Ashley will be followed by many more who need a little mobility assistance, can feel the magic of a horse moving underneath them.
Our hope for the Therapeutic Horsemanship program is to partner with Warm Beach Camp Outdoor Education and Special Friends programs, para-educators and counselors in the four neighboring school districts, psycho-therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, case managers for DHSH and foster care, Tribal community, veteran groups, and more. For more information about Warm Beach Camp Therapeutic Horsemanship, contact Ginger Reitz or see www.WBHorsemanship.com.Add a comment
We have kids attend who come from many diverse backgrounds; culturally, emotionally and spiritually. Everyone walks through the doors on the first day of Horse Camp with a different experience or expectation of what a week at camp will be like.
One particular young lady who attended had recently been transitioned into a new family. She was timid around all the new kids who were at camp with her, and she was very afraid and unsure being around horses. Over the first two days, I watched as the other children embraced her. They drew her into their groups with open arms and they encouraged her as she cautiously approached each day with her horse. I have often taught that horses aren’t judgmental – they don’t care what background someone comes from, what color their skin is, what kind of clothes they wear, how they do their hair, or whether they have makeup on or not. Horses display unbiased love and long for love in return. What amazed me about this week of camp was that I saw this same love also displayed by the campers. It was more than just the horses that did a healing work in this young lady’s life.
The environment at camp as a whole – from the horses to the campers, to the staff – was open, inviting and encouraging, allowing this young lady the freedom to open up her heart to new friends and experiences in ways she hadn’t thought possible on the first day of camp. This was the realization of our purpose to provide a safe, fun, encouraging environment that draws campers into God’s loving embrace. I can’t wait to see more campers experience this same embrace at Horse Camp this summer!
Information about this summer’s Horse Camps can be found at: www.WBCHorsemanship.com.
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center
One summer day in 2016, I witnessed the power of service and ministry come together at a Vaulting Camp at Warm Beach Camp. One child who was largely confined to a wheelchair found mobility, and another child struggling with the deepest, darkest depression, found purpose. Their smiles were infectious! I could see a life changing event was occurring.
I had the opportunity to watch the Lord work in His miraculous way as he brought these two lives together – one child’s life began to open with new possibilities, and the other child began to grasp light and hope. The twofold ministry of “your life matters” struck a chord deep within my soul. The relationship demonstrated between horses, children, and the compassionate camp staff was beautiful to behold. I went away from that horse camp demonstration with an idea brewing in my heart. The Lord fanned the flames of that spark resulting in the development of a Therapeutic Horsemanship program at Warm Beach Camp.
All creation matters. Horses are a unique platform for ministry to occur. A horse’s movement at the walk mimics the human gait. While providing mobility, they assist in regulating a rider’s circulatory, respiratory, endocrine and nervous systems. Horses are immensely patient creatures who interact with humans on a fair and honest level. Their feedback is consistent and purposeful, which provides opportunity for self-reflection, behavior moderation, and sensory integration. Relationally, they reach into the soul where many humans struggle with trust, acceptance and confidence.
Warm Beach Camp now offers two types of Therapeutic Horsemanship classes. Horse Assisted Learning is an unmounted activity in which participants practice cognitive, behavioral and emotional skills while partnering with our horses in a class structure. Therapeutic Vaulting is a mounted activity in which participants develop balance, strength and flexibility while gaining personal confidence. We have patient, compassionate, knowledgeable staff, amazing horses, and an awesome God who brings things together in his perfect timing.
More information about the Therapeutic Horsemanship classes can be found online at www.WBCHorsemanship.com. If you have a heart for horses and special needs, we also have openings for volunteers. Come be a part of something special!
Therapeutic Horsemanship Coordinator and
Assistant Horsemanship Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center