Posted In: Equine Program
Summers at Coyote Hill are fun, but intense. Lots of running around, swimming, field games, camping, and every other outdoor activity imaginable. As much fun as it is for the kids, sometimes the Home Parents need time to catch their breath so they can jump right on to the next activity. That is how six-year-old Kendall* came to be with me.
“Do you want to come to the arena for some extra barn time? We won’t be riding horses, but I have some projects…”
Before I could finish Kendall rushed to his bedroom to get his sneakers so he could tag along for whatever the barn had in store for him that day. I explained that this was a work day for his older foster sister and I, so he could choose to play with my dogs or be my helper. He opted to be my helper, but showed his soft heart as he petted and hugged my dogs, promising to come back and play with them later.
He diligently worked on the various “Kendall-sized” chores I assigned him. Sweeping rooms, moving light-weight bags of shavings, cleaning a saddle, rubbing rust off of a tool. He worked hard, and proudly showed me his handy work when he was done.
What was suppose to be an hour turned into two hours as we lost track of time, doing our work and singing along to the radio. It went so well that when Kendall was called home to supper, I had an idea. I talked it over with his Home Parents, and then offered Kendall a summer job of his very own. For one hour a week he could come to the barn and do “Kendall-sized” chores in order to earn a little pocket money.
As I knelt down to explain the proposition to my soon-to-be youngest worker, his eyes got huge!
“You mean I get to come to work and earn my own money?!?!”
“Sure!” I replied. “You’ve been responsible at home with your chores and your room, so if you want you can work with me, too!”
“Wow! I’m going to save up for a new fidget spinner!!!”
Why do we employ our youth during the summer? Mostly so our older kids can learn the skills to obtain and maintain employment after they leave us. As we love them and teach them through their initial mistakes, we’re giving them a safe place to learn these vital independent living skills.
But sometimes, we do it simply so a child can take pride in their ability to work and plan for something…like a fidget spinner.
Equine Program and Barn Manager
*boy’s name changed for sake of confidentiality