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Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County Club members participate in leadership and communication program utilizing horses.
Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center in Wellington extends their Taking the Reins program to Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County
Wellington, FL – August 4, 2016 – Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center in Wellington has extended their Taking the Reins program to the Club members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Wellington throughout the summer as part of summer camp activities. This program utilizes horses to help develop communication and learning skills by highlighting the importance of listening, exercising clear communication, and building trusting relationships.
The program is divided into two-phases over a two week period. Phase-one focuses on respect, trust and communication, conflict resolution, and building a bond. Participants develop awareness of different relationships and communication styles, and how it affects the way you interact with others. Working together as a group with a horse, they learn how to work through an obstacle course representative of real life obstacles that they may deal with in their lives.
Phase-two is all about being part of a community and addresses leadership, taking responsibility, and team building. Together with their horses, participants role play about what healthy leadership looks like and what it takes to be a responsible team member. The goal is to establish a connection and a nurturing relationship between participant and their horse, and encouraging them to think about the needs of others, including the horse.
“We first became aware of this type of program when it was offered at University of Virginia to build adult leadership skills. It seemed that learning these skills at an earlier age would provide benefits that would last a lifetime. So we set out to build a program here at Vinceremos,” said Susan Guinan, Director of Development for Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center. “This is the third year of the program. It has grown from a one day session to a program of six sessions over the course of two weeks.”
The program is conducted by staff members certified by PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship). The first group of forty-five Club members from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wellington has participated in the summer program so far as part of Summer Camp activities, but the Club hopes this can be a program that Club members can participate during the school year as well. “The kids are loving the program,” said Club Director Kenda Peterson, “they have learned so much about themselves, each other and how to treat each other; they have gained confidence and that is what Boys & Girls Clubs is all about. We are about helping our youth develop into productive, caring and responsible citizens and that is exactly what this program does. We are very appreciative of this opportunity the Vinceremos team has offered us.”
“Seeing the participants overcoming a challenge and having success through partnerships has been the program’s biggest accomplishment,” stated Guinan. “Their feedback on what they have learned is invaluable to us and we have learned so much from them.” “This is the first time these kids have seen or touched a horse or been to a farm, added Peterson, “They are enjoying the outdoors; no cell phones, no TV, no video games.”
“There have been many organizations that have wanted to participate in the program, but transporting the kids to the program has been a challenge. Gaining commitment from those who are responsible for the children has been difficult also. The collaboration with The Boys and Girls Club has been very helpful. Their relationship with their children and their families made parents more likely to commit. Their access to buses for transportation was a key factor in the camp’s success,” said Ruth Menor, founder of Vinceremos.
Although this was designed to be a summer camp program, both the center and the Club hope they can develop a similar program during the school year. “We definitely intend to continue this program in the future,” stated Menor. “The future could hold a program that would include all of those who are a part of the children’s world; parents, teachers, Club counselors… imagine a community where they all are speaking and listening the same language.”
About the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County
Founded in 1971, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County is a not-for profit youth development organization dedicated to promoting the educational, vocational, health leadership and character of boys and girls in a safe, nurturing environment. The Clubs provide more than a safe, fun and constructive alternative to being home alone – they offer a variety of award-winning developmental programs to help youth build skills, self-esteem and values during critical periods of growth. The thirteen Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Palm Beach County serve more than 8,000 children ages 6-18. For more information, please visit www.bgcpbc.org or call 561-683-3287.
About Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center
Located at 13300 Sixth Court N in Loxahatchee, Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center serves a wide range of clients with disabilities. For 35 years, the nonprofit has utilized the power of horses to help children and adults conquer challenges associated with disabilities through equine assisted activities. Children as young as two-years old, through adults in their 70’s, regularly participate in the program for ten-week sessions of recreational or therapeutic riding, regardless of their ability to pay. Each week participants come to Vinceremos for riding and over the course of a year the center serves approximately 500 different individuals. For more information about Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center, please visit www.vinceremos.org or call (561) 792-9900.