Oregon Reflections – Day 4, clinic day 3, part 2
After another delicious lunch, we met in the arena for Correcting Common Mistakes and sample sessions. Kim talked us through approaching a horse, negotiating a gate, tying a horse, grooming, tacking up, mounting, dismounting, moving around the horse, untacking, what safe clothing is, and how to do all of these things properly and safely. She pointed out that every staff member must carry a sharp knife with them at all times so that if a horse were ever in danger, you could help it immediately. She also gave us a few, heart-stopping examples of when her knife had come in handy. She talked about why they use rope halters and the correct way to tie the knot. Right after that was done, we were able to watch a sample session. There was one girl working in the round pen with her horse and session leader and five or six other children riding horses and working with their session leaders. It was eye opening to me to see so much going on but to still be able to have one staff member focused on one child. The kids were having a blast! One of the kids seemed to be learning more about how to ride, but the rest were just being silly. Whacking other staff members with noodles, balancing a ring on their head, guiding the horse to stand in a hoola hoop. It was great to see the kids being kids and I imagined that for some, this
is the only opportunity they have to do just that.
The next session was also a choice between The Vet is In and Creativity in Sessions. We chose Creativity in Sessions because, to be honest, neither one of us is that creative without some good guidance! This session was presented by Kelsey and Amanda Settle, Community Outreach Coordinator and Session Instructor. This session was what CPYR calls a “session” and what they look like or can look like. They emphasized that there is nothing that can be done without God. John 15:4-5 states, “remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who
remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing…” Truly, we cannot help anyone without God helping us.
At CPYR, sessions are directed by the client. They don’t even have to involve a horse. If a child wants to just sit somewhere with the session instructor and talk about their day, or play on the swings the whole 90 minutes, or have a water gun fight, it’s all completely fine. They talked about the importance of setting boundaries and how there is freedom in knowing what you can and cannot do. Boundaries in time, safety, horses, activities, people…all need to be considered. It is also vitally important to know your horses and know your session instructors. Kelsey gave a great example of different types of creativity. She said that if you give some people a blank piece of paper, they can create a stunning picture. Others, given the same, blank, piece of paper, will not produce anything; but give those same people a coloring page (with an outline) and they will create a masterpiece. In other words, some people flourish within boundaries, others shine without them. They advised us to set up our facility well before we start. Have designated areas for designated activities. CPYR has a stocked craft room, a woodshop, different arenas, a greenhouse, a chicken coop, and more.
We then moved on to discussing how to equip our leaders. CPYR spends anywhere from 60-90 days training their staff to be session leaders. They spend some of that time shadowing, then lead part of it, then lead with a shadow. Encourage the try in the leaders and set aside designated and scheduled time for training. Keep the communication open so that they can debrief and bring ideas to the table to take some ownership in shaping the program. The leaders have all been trained that there are three essential things for spirit led creativity. Pray, listen, and do!
Included in our notes were resources to help our creativity. Games and activities to do on horseback, and activities that don’t involve a horse at all.
The next session of our clinic was called, Quarter in a Coffee Can, presented by Troy, and was all about fundraising. The most important thing that he emphasized is that they don’t ask for money. They share the vision with enthusiasm and passion and people are moved to support them. They strive for the long-term relationship. Then, he talked about the “look” and presentation of the ministry. He talked about the detail in their logo and what each part was designed for. The importance of branding and recognition. He encouraged us to do it well the first time because consistency is the key to recognition. While CPYR doesn’t get a lot of their funding from grants and foundations, they do get some. Troy gave us a few keys for contacting foundations and grants, such as, look at their web site and try to use some of their keywords and the same kind of font if you can. He talked about the importance of keeping good records and how vital personal relationships are to the ministry. He encouraged us to go to as many clubs and dinners as we can to share the vision God has given us. A database is extremely important. Make sure to keep it private so that solicitors don’t get it and don’t abuse it by sending too much information. CPYR does a quarterly newsletter. Keep the database clean and updated. Create a web site and use social media. He cautioned us that if we were to do a fundraiser, to determine the reason behind it. CPYR has events and dinners, but they don’t ask for money. They, of course, share with passion and enthusiasm, all that God is doing through their ministry and they typically have a cowboy boot at the event with a sign that reads, “if you have some, give some, if you need some, take some.” He talked about the type of gifts that they get from time to time and to always be respectful of the heart of the giver, even if you don’t have a need for the item being donated. Honor and respect the heart of the giver. This session gave us a lot of information and I was very happy that the steps we have already taken were ones that have been successful for CPYR.
Before the final, official session of the clinic, which was a Q&A with the staff, one of the clinic attendees had a special presentation for one of the staff members. A man who had been at the clinic a few years prior is part of an organization called, Quilts of Valor (http://www.qovf.org/). It is an organization in which people make quilts for soldiers. Many have gone to a hospital for wounded soldiers in Germany and been draped over the wounded on their return flight to the United States. One of the staff members, Brad Schultz, is a Marine who served our country in Afghanistan, and still serves in the reserves. This gentleman made a Quilt of Valor in appreciation for Brad's service to our country. It was the first quilt that he made by himself (he and his wife typically make them together).
Brad was wrapped in the quilt as the man read a personal letter to him pertaining to the quilt and what it means. It was a very moving time and I was so honored to be there for it.
We ended the evening with a campfire supper and a time of worship in the chilly evening air. Saturday would be our last day at the ranch. Fellowship and worship were scheduled as well as a commissioning by Troy and Kim. Around noon, we would begin the drive back to Portland for our 8AM flight home. Chris and I headed back to the hotel and finally decided that the night before we left we should at least try to not fall asleep before trying out the hot tub. It was so relaxing and a great way to end the day.