Steven was 11 years old when his emotional outbursts at school and at home led to a stay at Campbell Lodge Boys' Home
, a 115-acre, year-round, residential treatment facility in Northern Kentucky.
"He came in not able to trust adults or peers," says Barry Jones, executive director.
he could learn to trust anyone else, Jones knew, Steven needed to trust
himself. So, like every other young man at Campbell Lodge, Steven went
to the stables. There, he encountered 1,200-pound horses, integral
members of the facility's equine-assisted counseling program.
seven months, Steven learned to lead, ride and groom horses. At the
same time, he learned to trust himself and his family. Now back home
with his parents, Steven is one of hundreds of young men learning how to
relate to people by working with other herding animals, horses.
experiential," Jones says. "Your feelings and thoughts come out within
the exercises." As they lead horses through obstacle courses, young men
deal with fear, frustration and issues of personal space. Working
through problems with horses provides a model for working through
problems in life outside the lodge's boundaries.
explains that equine therapy has been the primary focus at Campbell
Lodge for six years, though last summer marked the groundbreaking of the
equine center, which allows for year-round interaction between youth
and horses. Residents learn quickly which of the six horses is most
laid-back--that would be Buddy--and which is prone to bite--usually
"Traditional talk therapy was
not always as effective as we wanted it to be," Jones says. Horses
provide powerful physical metaphors for many problems that face
residents, many of whom must confront a variety of mental health issues
during their stay.
Residents have to
communicate with the horses and with each other to be successful at the
Lodge, whether they are in equine therapy sessions, learning grooming
techniques or volunteering to help children with disabilities enjoy time
with the horses.
Jones says the experiential therapy builds confidence and skills that residents carry with them once they leave the lodge.
• Fill a need.
Whether you have a spare pool table no longer in use or the ability to
donate lots of personal care items, Campbell Lodge will put items on its
wish list to good use.
• Have dinner out. The Lodge's annual Springfest, a fundraiser dinner and silent auction, happens March 5, 2011.
• Donate online or join the e-mail list. Find out how you can best support this 53-year-old regional resource that now serves up to 25 young men at a time.