“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
Teaching children how to cope in today’s culture
By Maria Mersman
A group of children thought throwing rocks at our horses was a good way to pass the time. I was concerned for the horses’ safety, but pushed through my unpleasant feelings and came up with a constructive idea. I calmly approached them, introduced myself along with the horses, and invited them in to see the farm instead of driving them away.
That one moment opened the door to something very special. For the rest of the summer, the kids visited the farm almost every day. They learned much about themselves and how to regulate their feelings through the horse. There were also lots of hugs, laughter and conversations. Eventually we talked about the rock throwing incident. Apparently, they were fearful and curious at the same time, but didn’t know how to express their emotions in a healthy way.
Many children struggle to cope with negative emotions. We need to do more in today’s complex culture to help our youth excel and navigate through all areas of their development. That summer, the community we cultivated in the farm led to the birth of other programs to support the mission of YAEMU. In the coming year, there are many opportunities to carry on the privilege of providing a safe place for youth in need to rest, learn and grow.
Will you join us?
Horses are perceptive prey animals. They rely on their senses to read our intentions, unmasking our pretenses and revealing our true selves. Through interacting with horses, they teach us five powerful life skills which help us develop into the individuals we’re meant to be.
~ How to overcome fear
~ How to be good leaders and team players
~ How to trust
~ How to communicate, non-verbally
~ How to identify and process our feelings
CAMPS AND RIDING LESSONS:
Our camps teach healthy life skills through horsemanship, art journaling, and serving. We also hold discussions and play games on character building.
In our lessons, we hold the students accountable for their part in learning about equine anatomy, horse care, horse psychology, and centered riding. The goal is to encourage students not only to master their horsemanship, but develop their God-given humanity in the process.
Our hope for the future is to build a community of adults and children who share positive relationships and care for one another.
The farm holds mentoring days throughout the year which give children the opportunity to develop relationships with adults who are positive role models. The children meet with their mentors in groups and also share space on the farm doing art, riding, grooming, and gardening. The purpose of these meetings is to establish relationships, have fun, and develop a mindset for learning.
JOURNALING AND ART:
Everyone can benefit from this program. Creativity through art and writing flourishes in the peaceful environment of the farm.
The farm has a club house full of resources for artistic expression. Sometimes the horses play a major part in art, instilling a sense of trust and calm while they stand in as a canvas.