Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Would Be Pure

The second line of the Ragger's Creed is "I would be pure for there are those who care."

What is the first thing that comes to mind? What does pure mean to you? How are you prepared to be pure?

Found on "
What is a pure heart? A heart free of possessiveness, a heart able to feel the sorrow of others, a heart that thirsts for what is right, a heart that is not vengeful. We see a pure heart in the face of any saintly person."

I love this. Working to be free of possessiveness and not vengeful or jealous - this is a daily task for me, I know. Part of YMCA Ragger's is to look with in yourself and command the best of yourself. Keeping your heart open and honest, searching for the good and loving others - that is pure of heart. Sound a little bit like I.L.L. (is it loving)?

I think this also means to be pure in the sense of drug or alcohol abuse. It doesn't lead to success in life, it doesn't keep you cool (though you may think you are cool when participating) and it doesn't help you. Keep your body pure-eat well, exercise, educate yourself and reach out to others. Be pure in what you watch on TV or read or when surf the net, don't join in on harassment or picking on of others, stand up for your convictions and strive to be better than you were yesterday.

Remember-Youth Empowerment Retreat (click and look for tan box) is coming up December 10, 2010! Sign up today and take this time to renew your Rag goals at camp. Hey Hey CFA-stay pure, stay true and stay CFA Strong!

I would be true, for there are those that trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those that care. . .

In the Spirit of Camp,


Monday, September 27, 2010

I.I.L. Part 1

An important part of our summer camp experience at CFA is our motto "Is it Loving?" This means is everything that you do in a loving manner. In these next two blog posts by me I am looking back at some of the camp experiences I have had in my life that really exemplify that motto and why I truly believe that summer camp is a great place for young people to be learning how to Love others.

One of my first memories of summer camp was when I was in seventh grade. It was my first time at Camp Pike (my camp I went to when I was younger, a Christian-hiking camp in Colorado near Pike's Peak). The first night I was either crazy homesick or crazy dehydrated (probably both). My counselor carried me back to the cabin. Once there, he gave his own personal gatorade. I drank it amazingly fast. When I was feeling terrible, we were doing signups for that weeks activities and I hadn't even filled any of my spots. After I got done drinking his gatorade he left and took my sign up sheet. After about 40 minutes he came back with the rest of my cabinmates and he had filled out all my activities for me. Not only did he fill it out, but he filled it out perfectly, which meant lots of sports and not a lot of arts & crafts (no offense). I remember that counselor's name to this day -- Brian Sheraton. He loved me and the rest of my cabinmates before we even arrived. He showed the camp Love the first day I was there.

A story about this past summer at CFA is about the staff. It was during the end of staff training week and the whole staff was in Strong Hall. It was time for me to ask them to donate to our Y Partners campaign (it is our scholarship program that helps send kids to camp). It was my first time to ask people in person to donate to camps scholarship fund. I was extremely nervous and I did my speech that I had been practicing all week in my head. The staff sat there and listened quietly. At the end, they filled out sheets of paper of how much they would donate. As they started to turn them in I started to get goosebumps. I was calculating the numbers in my head and the numbers were shocking. They were passing my goal, which was $1,000. Bill and I stared at each other teary eyed, overwhelmed by the generosity of the people surrounding us. In the end, they donated a total $1,400 dollars, which was good enough to send two campers to camp. It was at that moment I realized how amazing our summer was going to be because of all the Love in that room.

Live, laugh, LOVE and look up.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What goes on at the barn when ya'll aren't here?

Whenever I have a chance to talk to folks about my job —I'm the Equestrian Director here, by the way, I usually hear one of two responses. Sometimes both.

One, "That sounds like the greatest job ever."

And two, "So what do you actually do when you don't have summer camp / a retreat / trail rides?"

Well, let me tell you!

CFA currently has twenty-four horses. To my knowledge, that's more than we've had in quite awhile and besides feeding them, there comes a lot of maintenance with our herd who varies in age from 15 months old to 30 years old.

Obviously, the horses have to eat each day. Every horse has access to hay 24/7. Total, the herd goes through almost 4,000 pounds of high-quality Coastal hay each week— which is a lot, but it makes up most of their diet. We put out hay at least once a week and each horse spends 8 - 16 hours a day eating.. Which explains why we need 4,000 pounds of the stuff! Besides hay, each horse receives a ration of grain. In some cases, for some of the fittest and fattest horses (like Pumbaa and JB and Rue) that means only a couple of handfuls of horse feed. The oldest and skinniest guys (like Charlie and Dixie and Puzzle) get pounds and pounds of feed generally twice a day, soaked in water, so it's easier to digest.

Whenever the horses come in for grain, they also get checked for any wounds they may have picked up playing in the pasture, or any signs of sickness. Part of my work is using basic veterinary skills to patch up scrapes and bites and scratches, and making sure everyone is healthy. We keep a big cabinet full of first aid supplies and medicine, but anything truly major is addressed by our wonderful veterinarians in nearby Kerrville.

The younger and more excitable horses also need exercise in the form of arena work, trail rides, and "groundwork"— working with a horse while not being mounted in a saddle. That falls to me, too, though everyone at CFA enjoys a horseback ride on occasion! We also have two very young horses who have, at this point, never been ridden yet. They are in training to become saddle horses too, and that takes plenty of groundwork several days a week.

For most of the fall and spring, CFA welcomes retreat groups in the form of Girl or Boy Scouts, YMCA Adventure Guides, church or youth groups, and other groups of people. Many groups choose to ride horses, so a Wrangler and I saddle up ten or twelve horses on Saturday and Sunday and lead trail rides on Santa Fe Trail, the Enchanted Forest Trail, the BB Trail, and the Fiesta Trail.

Also during the off season, when there isn't a retreat group here, I teach riding lessons for the Adopt-a-Horse Program. Currently, Hannah, Missy, Dolly, and Karat are all in the program, and we're expecting more sign ups in October. Lessons are a lot like Saddle Club rides on a smaller scale— horsemanship is taught in the arena through exercises and practice, and we break it up often with games and trail rides.

Besides the barn stuff, there's always plenty to do in the office and often with the San Antonio Y.. And now, apparently, writing blog posts once a week for CFA! (I love the idea, Ryne.) A lot goes into taking care of a herd of camp horses, but the reasoning behind it is easy. I think camp is incredibly important and, working here at CFA, I have the very lucky opportunity to give lots of people a chance to ride for the first or thousandth time. Being around horses can teach a person many things about themselves, and it is certainly one of my favorite things to do in this beautiful Hill Country setting!

YMCA Raggers - I would be true

The first line of the Ragger's Creed is " I would be true, for there are those who trust me" What does this mean to you? How can you show people that you are trustworthy?

For me, being true is leading by example aka "walking my talk" and being true to myself. If I expect someone else to do something, then I must lead the way and do it first and often. I do my best to set this example in the camp kitchen. Everyone is expected help everywhere - cutting fruit, washing dishes, mopping, etc. While I am the primary cook, I also take time to sweep up my mess, clean dishes, and for sure mop. When I was a program director, I was out there with my staff plunging toilets, swimming laps for life guarding, hauling canoes and playing with campers. As a mom, I do my best to show my children Luke and Laine what it means to be trustworthy. Walking my talk is kind of the same thing. I work hard to lead a value filled life both at work and in my personal life. I don't turn off YMCA Allison when I go home or out with friends. I think this allows people to trust in who I am and what I say.

Being true to myself. This is defined as: "Don't change your core beliefs and values for someone else. For example, if you have decided never to use drugs and others are pressuring you to use them, you are true to yourself if you don't give into the pressure. " For me, this is put into play often and the YMCA Rag program has helped me define myself. Work to define your values and then work harder to maintain yourself.

Remember-who you are and what you do speaks louder than any words you will ever say. Remain focused on your Ragger goals, let us know how it is going and what "being true" means to you.

In the Spirit of Camp,

$500 Shopping Spree! WIN IT!

Drawing #1-RETURNING CAMPERS: All RETURNING campers that sign up between Summer 2010 and December 10, 2010 will have their name placed in the "hat" for a chance to win a $500 gift card. Names are placed in for EACH session and EACH camper you register, including those already registered. So get your registration in. We will let a camper attending the Youth Empowerment Retreat draw the winner on December 11, 2010.

Drawing #2-RECRUIT A NEW CAMPER: For every new camper that you recruit that signs up and attends summer camp 2011, your name will be placed in a “hat” to win a $500 gift card! So, not only will you earn the $25 tuition reduction per new camper you recruit, ou will have a chance to win $500 gift card! Drawing will be August 1, 2011 during session 8! This applies to returning and new campers that recruit a NEW CAMPER to attend summer 2011.

HEY HEY CFA-Get ready to play! Watch Facebook for winners.

Get ready!

It was Ryne's idea to create a camp blog, and this week we are putting it together and getting our little blogger ducks in a row! Stay tuned for entries about camp life in the off season, summertime memories, plans for 2011, reflections on the importance of summer camp, photos, and more.

As for right now, I'm trying to get the layout looking snazzy. How do you like that little turtle mascot up at the top of the page?