Hey PALS families and friends, Taylor Singmaster here… this Labor Day weekend I had the honor of leading the first PALS Adventure of the season with one of my very best friends, Bo Irwin. Charis Stables is a newly opened therapy riding farm in Elverson, PA. It also just happens to be the home of my retired show horse, Bentley.
I have been an equestrian for about 20 years now and being able to host a PALS event that involved a weekend on the farm and horseback riding felt like putting the two halves of my heart together. When I dreamt this concept up, I knew there was no one I would rather have as a co-leader than Bo! So together with staff member Julia, we made it happen.
12 campers and 12 counselors arrived in Elverson Saturday morning and we got right to the fun. Choice activities included horseback riding, grooming horses and small animals, making and canning applesauce, fishing and crafting “lucky horseshoes”. We ended Saturday with a hayride to Wyebrook Farms, an organic farm and restaurant, where we ate and hung out in the beautiful country side. Nighttime chores followed, where each pair was responsible for some typical farm chore such as feeding the animals or cleaning the stalls. This was an awesome opportunity for our campers and counselors alike to experience what life is really like on a farm, and have ownership over the responsibilities of owning animals.
We met by the bonfire to jam to some music and roast s’mores. An impromptu soccer game broke out in the glow of the fire. I have to admit that bonfire was one of my favorite moments of the weekend – one of those times when you look around and you know that no one is thinking about extra chromosomes or our differences, we were all there as friends, no, family.
We fell asleep that night in our tents under the stars and were awoken the next morning by a rooster crowing. We were up and at our chores before being treated to an incredible homemade breakfast. Choice activities continued before we wrapped up our Adventure with the first ever PALS horse show. Each camper was able to compete in front of their peers and families, showing off not just their new riding skills but also the confidence and smiles they had gained over the short weekend. Each camper and counselor was awarded with a PALS Adventure & Charis Stables Horse Show ribbon as a token of their hard work and a memento of the countless memories made.
Check out more about Charis Stables by visiting: www.charisstables.org
Taylor and Bo