Kids learn life lessons at Camp Unplugged | TheFencePost.com

Kids learn life lessons at Camp Unplugged

Jody Hall
for The Fence Post

"Scientists and professors alike, including Colorado's own Temple Grandin from CSU (Colorado State University), stress the necessity for children to balance their abundant technology skills with an equally strong acquaintance with nature: plants, animals, soils, rivers, trees, etc." said Annette Price facilitator of Camp Unplugged in Platteville Colo.

At Camp Unplugged children leave their devices and turn on a connection with animals and nature. They learn the importance of heart-felt communication, caring and leadership.

Annette has studied the Gestalt theory for 20 years and is a certified Gestalt Equine Coach. "I learned listening skills as a Victim Assistant Advocate for the Boulder County Sheriff's Department," Price said. She also volunteered for two years at the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center, where she worked with a class of autistic children. "My eyes were opened to the healing that flows between a horse and a human," she said.

"Horses are teaching me to live in the moment," Price said. "Everyone says that, but it is so true. It has also been said that learning good horsemanship makes us better people… They have so much to offer us and they do it so willingly. Communication skills, trust, friendship, balanced energy an ability to sort out what is important and what is not and living together in harmony."

Gestalt is a German word meaning, "to make whole." It is a theory that basically says: you know all your answers. A Gestalt coach or therapist can help you find the answers. "The main thing is … I don't solve their problems, but I can talk to them and help them figure out what's right or wrong," Price said. "Kind of let them work through it. By them working through it, it sticks more."

PROBLEM SOLVING

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At Camp Unplugged children work with art, storytelling and horsemanship lessons to learn important problem-solving techniques. One day, Jack Taylor brought his team of Percheron horses for a visit to camp. Price's horses were lined up at the fence watching. She took this opportunity to explain the hierarchy concept of herds and how they had a leader. She also explained to the children in simple terms that they could understand that the huge Percheron and her little minis had the same confirmation type. She told them that even though we look different we are still the same. It's like the minis and the draft horses: they are the same confirmation, they are both horses, but they are different.

At Camp Unplugged Price uses the horses and donkeys on her farm to demonstrate how their energy effects those around them. Before going into the arena, they learn to take three deep breaths and get in touch with their "quiet heart." Her training has helped her to point out to the kids that they are responsible for their own energy. "The horses teach them how their energy effects them," she said. Price realized that these life lessons were important after she watched her horse Lakota take away a child's fear of horses.

"I try to pay attention," she said. Meaning she is mindful to what is going on around her. "I can tell by how Lakota acts what's going on with people," she said. I'm not a therapist, I'm an equine Gestalt coach." And she uses her horses to do it.

Camp Unplugged teaches kids important lessons they can carry through life. They learn how to care for animals; hands on. Annette uses art and storytelling to help the children express their uniqueness. Her horses, minis and donkeys help her teach skills in leadership, communication and trust and the kids have fun doing it. The next camp session starts July 16-20. If you would like more information on Camp Unplugged, call Price at (970) 785-9090 or visit her website: http://www.onthewingsofahorse.com. ❖

—Hall is a freelance writer from Platteville, Colo., when she's not writing she is riding her horse in the mountains. She can be reached by email at jodylhallno1@yahoo.com.