Submitted by Amanda Snell, Buckland campus EAL program leader
We at Buckland’s Equine Assisted Learning program have been many things to many people, but we never turn down the opportunity to add another feather to our cap.
The Carlton Alternative Education program approached us looking for a work experience opportunity for their students, and we saw a great opportunity to expand our community outreach and get some help in the arena at the same time.
Ten youth arrived, with a teacher and an Education Assistant, and they were very ready to work! They helped with cleaning the arena (sweeping, washing windows, cleaning tack, organizing equipment), feeding horses, and grooming. They did such a great job that I wanted to find a way to show some gratitude, so decided to offer the group some Equine Assisted Learning sessions. Our once-monthly agreement quickly turned into twice monthly: one session for helping around the arena and one for an EAL lesson.
The objective of each lesson was to work toward building a life skill that would assist the youth in their work experience, such as teamwork, problem solving, and communication. Equine assisted learning is unique in that it teaches these skills in a non-traditional way – so students who may have had trouble making those connections in a classroom or traditional work scenario may have experienced more success with the help of our horses. One thing is for certain: both youth and staff had a lot of fun during their sessions!
On their last day, the students brought a thank-you card and lunch. After lunch we headed out for a trail ride, where everyone thanked me for the opportunity and several students asked if they could use me as a reference on their personal resumes!
Working with community programs such as the Carlton Alt Education program enhances my personal experience as the EAL program leader and fosters positive connections between Ranch Ehrlo and the community of Prince Albert.
We look forward to having a new group of students this school year!