We recently had the chance to catch up with a few of our volunteers. First, we chatted with Gail, who had just wrapped up her morning of volunteering with a small group of students from Syringa Mountain School.
That group of kiddos had a beautiful morning at the ranch. They began their day grooming horses with the instructors and volunteers, then they saddled-up and went out for a ride on the sensory trail. During their ride, the focus was teamwork, patience, and communication, all of which they did very well. Gail had the fun task of being a horse handler for one sweet young gal during this lesson.
We asked Gail how long she’d been volunteering and what inspired her to get involved with Swiftsure. She cheerfully replied, “Oh, boy, it has to be about seven years now, right after the Ranch moved to where it’s at today.” Gail explained that she became a volunteer with Swiftsure after many conversations with her close friend and neighbor, Leslie Benz, the President of the Board. Gail has a background working with individuals of all abilities and horses, combining her experience and passion. She ultimately felt this was an excellent opportunity for her.
Gail took the necessary steps and courses to be both a side-walker and a horse handler for us at the Ranch.
We also asked her what is so gratifying about being a volunteer at the ranch. With a smile and shimmer in her eye, she said, “It’s empowering the participants to overcome their handicaps, seeing the smiles on their faces and in their eyes, and getting them outside having fun. It’s truly the greatest, and it’s so rewarding”.
Gail was not the only one we heard such a strong testament from that day. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more volunteer spotlights and stories on our blog. We truly could not make the impact that we do in our participants’ lives if it was not for our strong group of volunteers, our donors, and ultimately our hard-working herd.