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I have had the pleasure of seeing how horse partnerships impact campers’ lives, bringing self-confidence and joy. Some campers come to horsemanship fearful and by the end of their program ride confidently with their new horse friend.
Horses have so much to teach us about trust, leadership and self-confidence. Through horsemanship I aim to teach students that in relationship with their horse they can become effective leaders. If given clear cues and treated with respect, a horse will begin to view the child as the leader. Students gain an enormous amount of self-confidence when they see the positive results of their leadership.
Like any healthy team environment there must be mutual trust and respect for the leader to lead well, and the team to willingly follow the vision and instruction of the leader. I love seeing the joy these lessons bring to students and how this learning overflows into other areas of their lives.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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There is something powerful when a child connects with a horse. It has been said that horses love us and bear our burdens unconditionally. This is the heart of Warm Beach Camp’s equestrian connection. For children who have had relational trust broken in their lives, a connection with a horse is a powerful way to rebuild trust and open a child’s heart to the possibilities of being loved and accepted.
The Warm Beach Horsemanship program offers a variety of equestrian classes and camps. For those who want to work on a team and participate in world class competition, the equestrian vaulting team offers great opportunities for local and global competition. The hall mark of the Horsemanship program are the summer week-long residential horse and vaulting camps. Relationship, skill, work ethic, competition, and a greater awareness of God and His love are the key outcomes experienced in the equestrian ministry. Lisa Tremain, Horsemanship Director, is leading a very committed and talented team of people who have a strong desire to connect people with Jesus Christ.
Information about the Warm Beach Horsemanship Program can be found at www.WBCHorsemanship.com. Those who would like to support the Horsemanship program financially can donate online, or contact Jessica Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-312-3417.
Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center
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Today the barn is quiet. There are no horses in the arena and no children in sight. The only sound is the distant hum of a weed eater. It’s hard to imagine in just nine weeks the stables will be full of children, horses and laughter.
Summer Camp brings such sweet memories to mind. Each year I get the chance to witness many lives changed, many obstacles overcome and many children set free - free from the lies that they don’t matter, that they aren’t loved, that no one cares about them. I see kids’ eyes brighten as the weight of judgement and never measuring up to society’s standards, is left at the barn door. At Warm Beach Horse Camp they are accepted, they are loved, they are valued. Here they learn about God’s grace.
I love the way God uses horses to heal hearts and instill a sense of self-worth in the lives of His beloved children. In a horse’s eyes there is no judgement - it doesn’t matter where you come from, who your friends are, what clothes you wear, or what you have done in the past. A horse just wants to love and be loved. Last year a girl told me her horse loved her. I asked how she knew this and she told me with a huge grin on her face, “He licked my face, that’s how I know he loves me!” I could not help but smile. God used this simple action to let this girl know that she is loved, that she is valued.
I pray God will continue to use the Horsemanship Program at Warm Beach Camp this summer to soften hearts, change lives, and fill campers with the knowledge that they are loved.
Warm Beach Horsemanship Director
Information about the Warm Beach Horsemanship Program and Summer Camp registration can be found at www.WBCHorsemanship.comAdd a comment
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Are you looking for the perfect Spring Break activity for the young horse-lover in your family? Warm Beach Horsemanship now offers Spring Horse Day Camp, April 4-7, 2017, for youth ages 8-15. Campers will experience loving and caring for a horse of their own while they grow in their faith, friendships, and horsemanship skill.
Each day from 9am to 4pm, campers will learn about horses and work directly with a horse that is carefully selected just for them. Campers will be grouped in small classes of six, according to riding experience, and receive quality instruction that will boost their confidence and horsemanship ability. Set amidst a beautiful environment overlooking Port Susan Bay at Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood, days are filled with riding lessons, trail rides, and horse science. Campers learn safe horse handling practices and the basics of grooming, saddling, and caring for a horse. Equestrian vaulting and mounted games add a spark of extra fun and new experiences in horsemanship. Cowboy chapels demonstrate biblical principles through the relationship of horse and rider.
Horseback riding teaches many valuable life skills such as respect, empathy, responsibility, and personal discipline. Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) trained staff carefully supervise and direct all of the campers’ activities making camp fun and personally enriching for each camper.
More information and registration can be found at WBCHorsemanship.com. Limited space is available, so register today!Add a comment
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Lisa shares more about her life in New Zealand and her heart’s desire to impact lives through a horsemanship experience.
Q: What were some of your influences growing up?
A: My parent’s worked at camps while I was growing up. Having so many fun activities, like horses, right in your backyard is so cool. We moved around a lot so I got to experience a number of different camps. It is interesting to see how different camps operate and how many incredible ways there are to reach people with the love of God. I think growing up in the camping environment definitely influenced my love for horses, nature and people.
Q: Do you have siblings?
A: I have one brother and one sister. They are both married. My brother has two kids and one on the way. My sister just had a little girl. They live in New Zealand. All of my immediate family lives in New Zealand.
Q: How did you become a Christian?
A: I grew up in a Christian family. We went to church regularly and my parents worked in Christian camping, so I was pretty well surrounded and heard about God from a very young age. When I was about nine I was at a camp and decided to make that my personal faith too. I would have claimed I was a Christian prior to that but that’s when I remember clearly making a decision that wasn’t just my parent’s faith, it’s my faith – I do believe in God and I love Him and know He loves me.
Q: After you were an intern at Warm Beach Camp, what did you do?
A: I ended up getting married to an American. My husband, Tyler, grew up coming to Warm Beach Camp and was really involved here. Right after we were married, we went to New Zealand and worked at a horse program for three months but had to come back because Tyler had difficulty getting a visa. Tyler worked at a church in youth and young adult ministry. It wasn’t possible for both of us to be doing ministry - someone needed to work to pay the bills - so, I worked in the “business world” doing accounting, purchasing and general business administration. Which I also love – I have a passion for paperwork. While I did that, I helped Tyler in the ministries he was running.
Q: How did you get back to New Zealand?
A: We really both missed working in ministry together. I grew up in camping ministry, and to me that is the ultimate lifestyle – I think it’s a great way to show and teach people about God and also have a loving community. Tyler loves camping too. At the time when we looked into getting back into camping ministry it was the recession here so camps weren’t hiring, but in New Zealand they were. It’s always nice to see how God leads and you know it’s the right thing to do. One day I sat down and wrote a list of all the obstacles that were preventing us from going – there were probably 10 different things in the way. When we pursued going back to New Zealand we were just planning a three week trip but then all the things on the list kept getting crossed off. Within a month, every single one of the things that had been on the list for years suddenly weren’t a problem anymore. So, God opened up the doors for us to move back there.
Q: What did you do when you returned to New Zealand?
A: We worked at the horse camp where we were when we first got married. After a year and a half we moved to another camp where my husband was the Kids’ Camp Director and I helped him with the administration for the camps. Even though I loved it and it was great, I did miss the horse aspect and how much you can use horses to teach simple analogies about God - our relationship with the horse and rider and how that compares to our relationship with God. I did really miss that.
Q: When you came to America, were there things we said you didn’t understand?
A: Even though we both speak English, we say different things. I think it’s easier for New Zealander’s coming to America because we see all the American movies, so when we come here it’s not so foreign. I think people from America who go to New Zealand have a harder time understanding what different things mean. Funny things like the words and phrasings, not even the accent. If you say “this is a cruisey horse” it means they are really laid back and easy going. I often say “don’t run around the horses as you’ll give them a fright”, meaning you will startle them.
Q: What are some similarities and differences between New Zealand and here?
A: The Pacific Northwest is very similar to New Zealand, I think that’s why it has been easier for me and why I feel so at home here. The rain is definitely a similarity. Winter is wet in New Zealand, so that’s an easy adjustment to make. It’s beautiful and green most of the time. When I’m in America I miss the beaches – New Zealand has incredible beaches. Here you can drive six hours and get to a nice beach but even then it’s super windy and you have to wear a jacket – that’s just not my idea of being at a beach. You’re supposed to lay on a beach in the sun to get a tan, not a layer of sand! In the part of New Zealand where I grew up, there aren’t mountains like here. I love seeing the snow on the mountains. I never had snow where I lived in New Zealand. It was a cool experience for me the first time it snowed when I was here. It was like a dream come true.
Q: What do you like to do on your days off?
A: The funny thing is, I find myself wanting to go down to the barn on my days off, which is ridiculous considering I’m probably there more hours than I should be. But it’s hard because jumping into the role of Horsemanship Director keeps me busy doing chores and other tasks that even though I’m surrounded by horses all day, I don’t usually have much time to actually ride them. So sometimes on my days off I just want to go and ride to have fun. Other than horses, I really like to play board games - I’m very competitive! I also enjoy being out in nature seeing God’s beautiful creation. At the moment on our days off, we are mostly catching up with our friends and family we haven’t seen for a number of years, hanging out and talking a lot. I love coffee so I love being back where there is drive-thru coffee every block! I also enjoy crafts and other things, but I don’t have much time for those at the moment.
Q: Looking into the future for the Horsemanship program, are there things you would like to see happen?
A: We currently have western riding and vaulting, so I would like to see some English brought in to give kids a well-rounded experience of horses and the different things you can do with them. At the moment we have our summer programs and Saturday riding lessons and we will continue to do those and grow those programs. Also, I would like to explore other ways we can use horses all year round. I’m interested in how we can use horses to help kids that are in a difficult place in life. I recently visited Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Oregon – they work with rescued horses and at risk youth. I looked at their program for ways we may do something similar, working with kids and helping them in their life. I would like to see ways we can reach out to more kids in our community. I’m excited by the possibilities.
Q: Is there anything else you would like people to know about the impact horsemanship can have for kids?
A: A lot of people see horses as a luxury item, like it’s a fun thing to do. But it can be much more. There is so much we can teach through horses that kids often can’t learn in a classroom. Sometimes in a classroom kids shut down but when they are out on a horse you have the opportunity to input into their lives and help them overcome the struggles they are facing or help them through it. Even just brushing the horse can be soothing or relaxing, or giving them a hug and feeling its breath on their hand can take them to a different place and give them hope. I would like to find ways we can actually help change lives through it.Add a comment
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Lisa Tremain, a New Zealand native, returns to Warm Beach Camp as the new Horsemanship Director
We are excited to have Lisa back on staff at Warm Beach Camp! Lisa first came as a Wrangler in Training (WIT) in 2003, and since has served in other camp ministries throughout New Zealand.
Recently, we sat down with Lisa and asked her some questions we thought you would like to know. And with her gracious, gentle spirit and her cool New Zealand accent, she shared about herself, her hopes for kids who attend camps and lessons, and her goals for the future of the Horsemanship program.
Q: Were you interested in horses when you were little?
A: My parents started getting into the horse camp ministry and learning about them when I was fairly young. I wouldn’t say I had a particular interest in horses before then. I would often ride double as a child with someone else – they would take me on trail rides and that type of thing. So I liked horses when I was younger. However, when I started riding by myself I was small and so they put me on the small ponies who were very mischievous and they would often run under things that they could fit under but without me fitting under it. So, I actually became quite terrified of horses. When we visited a new camp I went on a trail ride and they put me on a taller horse and I burst out in tears and was terrified. But the owner said he would walk beside me for the beginning of the trail ride, so I agreed to go. Halfway through he said, “Oh, I’ve got to go help someone else.” And off he went to help them so I was left riding by myself on this big horse. But that was the best thing ever because I suddenly realized they weren’t so scary and this horse wasn’t out to take me under a tree. From then on I loved horses and started riding more and more and more. That was a turning point. So, I definitely know how it feels to be terrified – they are a big animal - but I also know how much I changed when someone took time to help me overcome fear.
Q: Do you have a favorite horse activity?
A: I love to jump – yes, jumping is my favorite. I grew up doing English riding. I did Eventing, which is dressage, show jumping, and cross country all mixed together. Jumping is my favorite. There is nothing quite like being on a powerful horse and leaping off the ground.
Q: When did you start Western riding?
A: When I came here to Warm Beach Camp. I was 17 at that time. I came to be a WIT (Wrangler in Training). I did do some Western riding off and on in New Zealand. But Warm Beach Camp is when I actually took instructed lessons and made progress. There is a lot of cross over between English and Western riding. If you start out in one it’s easy to adapt to the other.
Q: How did you hear about Warm Beach Camp and come here to be a WIT?
A: In New Zealand it is really common to do what we call an “OE” – an overseas experience. Usually people will do that right after high school or before college or at the end of college. I had planned to do an OE and come to America to do camping ministry when I was 17 years old. Laurie Fertello, who was the Warm Beach Camp Youth Program Director at the time, came to New Zealand and toured some of the Christian camps. Laurie stayed with our family at Sonshine Ranch when she visited. She and my Mom hit it off. So, when I was talking about coming over, my Mom printed off all the information from the website about the WIT program. When I saw it, it sounded really fun. So I thought, “Sure, I’ll give that a shot.”
Q: How was your experience as a WIT here?
A: I loved it! I went home and got my Visa and came back. I worked year round at the barn at that time, and was a Wrangler the following summer. Then I did an internship in program and marketing.
Q: How did camp play a role in your spiritual growth?
A: Camping really did shape who I became and gave me a really good firm foundation. In New Zealand, we have school for 10 weeks and then have two weeks off, so we would have camps year round. I was in camps, church, and actively involved in youth group. I was constantly being poured into and had people around who wanted to help youth grow in their relationship with God. So, when things got tougher in later years, I definitely clung to that foundation of knowing who God is and how much He loves me.
Q: After being a part of other ministries in New Zealand the past several years, why did you want to move back to America?
A: My husband and I weren’t actually planning to move back to America. But for various reasons we did consider it and when I saw the job opening I applied. This is the job I have always wanted, to run a horsemanship program. And Warm Beach Camp was foundational for me in how camping can be run well. I think this is a great camp that has a lot of good standards and truly shows God’s love through the way that it interacts with staff and the guests. So I was really excited by the opportunity to work here. It was a hard decision, but exciting too. I’m really thrilled to be here and see where the program can go. I hope to impact others’ lives in the same ways my own life was positively impacted by the people at Camp.
Q: Do you have a favorite horse at Warm Beach Camp and why?
A: Oh, how do I pick?! I actually haven’t had a lot of time to ride very many of them yet. And I like them for different reasons. I have enjoyed a horse called Jackson – he is really fun and well trained, so he’s more of a fun horse for me to just get on and ride. There’s another cute one that everyone loves, who is black and white and adorable – Oreo – she’s a young horse and still in training. I love paints - black and white, brown and white… they’re just cute. Oreo is cute. There are some horses with cool personalities and others that are great to teach kids on – good for a nice, gentle ride. I like the challenge so I like horses to challenge me. But, there are others that are my favorite for teaching.
Q: What do you hope the kids who come to Warm Beach Horsemanship Camp will learn?
A: My hope is for kids to learn and grow in their experience and knowledge of horses, how to handle them and interact with them on the ground, and how to ride them. There is so much more to horseback riding than people think as far as how you communicate to the horse. You’re having to use your body language and different cues you are giving the horse and learning how to be in sync with the horse, and to ask nicely and to treat them with respect. To have that partnership form. This can help teach kids core life skills, while also developing and helping them grow in their horse riding ability.
Q: How can horses help kids learn about God and other relationships?
A: There are so many ways of translating it to our relationship with God and how He interacts with us and how we respond to Him. There are many parallels to be able to teach kids not only in general life - how we treat other people, trust other people, respect other people – but how that works with God too, and how He can help us to do that with others.
Q: Are there other things you hope kids experience at Horsemanship camps and lessons?
A: I’m really hoping that we can help kids achieve goals, overcome fears, or that they can feel a sense of growth. That they would be challenged and learn while they are here. And also feeling loved. I want Camp to be a safe place for them to come, where judgments are put aside and they are treated as people no matter where they come from, how they look. I want them to know that they are loved and safe here and have a place they can call home. And through that we can develop mentoring relationships. That’s what I would love to see.Add a comment