The theme for RFJ 2019 is Flexibility in Change!
With the move to the new facility and multiple events piled onto regular business, staff and volunteers have diligently worked to maintain the peace and calm at the barn while expertly handling each new task that flew in their direction.
Ruck Up & Rebuild Retreat for veterans in May was a success for the third year running. Vets enjoyed archery, processing groups and fly fishing with some beautiful catches released to grow for another year. Well known local mustang trainers brought some of their trainees and demonstrated methods they’ve perfected in working with wild horses. Dutch oven cooking filled many happy bellies. And the highlight, of course, was riding. Rain the last day did nothing to dampen the spirits of all attendees.
Two local Special Education classes spent afternoons at the barn during field trips filled with squeals of glee and petting and riding RFJ’s four legged friends. Many students were returnees from previous trips and talked lovingly about their previous steeds.
July held the annual All Abilities Camp for local youth. As always, kiddos praised the fun had learning about equines in Stable Management, creating beauty during Arts and Crafts, and riding their very own favorite horses.
RFJ fielded a record number of lesson requests for the Summer Session, along with a four fold increase in new student applications since April.
To accommodate the significant increase in students, RFJ was excited to hire two new staff this summer. Bailey Garner, a long time volunteer and Instructor-in-Training, joined as the Volunteer Coordinator. Natalie Sheffer, CTRI, came on to instruct many students, new and past. Both women are already adding their expertise to many other areas of the organization, as well.
Staff, volunteers and students marveled at all of these events occurring in the state-of-the-art indoor arena that kept the temperature rideable even when the thermostat outside read 95 and higher.
In the midst of all of these exciting experiences, RFJ’s new office building continues to click along with internal and external structures being permitted and readied for finishing touches.
RFJ staff can’t say enough thank you’s to the the Idaho Youth Ranch and the many volunteers and donors who continue to support RFJ in this time of massive growth and change.