July and early August sizzled like a drop of water on a hot skillet. Horses do not like heat and we were glad that we have lovely trails so near to the ranch. A short walk out of the driveway leads to cool forested trails.
We have said Happy Trails to some of our graduating seniors that are going on to college. We invite them back to visit and volunteer when they have a break. College is an important time for growth and maturity. Most of what kids learn at college is not found in a book, but in the life-lessons that teach them to “do” for themselves. I am always surprised at how attached I am to those I am privileged to serve. I will miss them dearly. They all know the door is always open to them and their families to return to Raven Rock. I believe that is one of the reasons that Raven Rock’s permanence is so important. It is not just the work we currently do, but the work that we have done that lets the kids know that RRR is an anchor place that they can count on.
A GREAT BIG THANKS to Ed McDowell, Executive Director at Warm Beach camp who gave RRR 12 scholarships for Equestrian camp this summer. For some of our kids, it was the very first time that they had been away from the safety of their home. Many find it very, very difficult as they do not feel capable of surviving without the shelter of their routine and known surroundings. But they did not just survive, they thrived! Their posture was different- they now walk taller, look people in the eye when they speak, and overall, simply have a much better self-image. That is an amazing place for our kids to go for a week. All thanks to Ed McDowell lives were changed for the better!
This year, a beautiful young lady who has been coming to the ranch for 3 years was able to reach a place deep inside of her that had been untouched for so very long.
Last year, she was so frightened to go to camp. Julie, her Facilitator, knew she was ready and made a special request for this young teen I’ll call Beth. When I offered the scholarship to her, she made several excuses about how she couldn’t go. It was very transparent to all of us. We knew she was simply so afraid; afraid to be in a place where other kids might bully or judge her, afraid to trust her own abilities. And Beth was terrified to take a risk. Her wise Grandma took her to visit on a Saturday long before that first summer camp trip, when she could meet the staff, see where she would sleep and eat. She apprehensively agreed to go.
That week was like a fairy tale for Beth. She got to ride every day! The staff was warm and embracing. She met new friends. When she came back she said she never wanted to leave there. It was as close to being a “regular” kid that she had ever known.
This year, Beth was counting on her scholarship to Warm Beach. But the most amazing report came from her Grandma- she reported that Beth told her that she cried tears of joy several times that week. Emotions that had been locked up and inaccessible for most of her life were coming out in salty little drops that streamed down her cheeks. How powerful it was for her this year. It all began with some time at RRR to have the courage to give camp a try. “It takes a village” as they say, and most healing doesn’t happen with one experience or event. It takes a series of small, successful risks that build up courage for those who have none. It is a blessing to all of us at RRR to serve these kids who come into our care.
Liberty Road Foundation, a foundation we have been partnering with for 3 years now, had a hugely successful auction and will be able to donate over $30,000 to RRR. This organization has been one of our most faithful supporters. We are so very grateful to their Board and all who gave at that annual event. A special thanks to Karilyn Dammarell, who runs that giant event with style and grace. Every year she outdoes the year before! I don’t know how she does it…
I am making a special request to all of you for this coming October 14. Please join us at Chateau Ste. Michelle winery for our 6th Annual Fundraiser Dinner Event. This year will be a perfect combination of great wine, great food and some truly unique auction items. Only 10 items, but each one is special. Please join us if you can. If you can’t join us for this gala evening, please consider sponsorship which is a great way to promote your business. Register/ sponsor here: https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d2/default.aspx?wid=58459
I hope you all can feel the big impact that you have in the lives of the children and the horses who love them!
With love and blessings,