High Riding Art and Equestrian Camp
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High Riding Art and Equestrian Camp

October 19, 2019

The camp is the High Riding and
Equestrian Camp for special-needs kids. We also do swimming and art and music
and science. Camp is for students with mild disabilities. It’s a combination of
art and equestrian along with science as well as music and movement and it’s
really just an inclusive place for these kids to be themselves and be able to
have fun at a camp that’s appropriate for them. We are working just getting to
know the students, really, is basically what I think of the camp as. We wanted to
make camp fun and not like school. We just wanted to make it a place where
children can come and just not worry about anything else, just worry about
themselves and their friends, creating relationships with these children. I
think that is really important just to have relationships with the kids and get
to know them and like I said, we just wanted to make camp a fun time for
everyone. So, we got lots of games, good food, and just good conversation, so yeah.
We have had so much fun at camp. We have had swimming where we had races, throwing
ducks into pails. We have had an episode where we actually had pied a couple
people. Each Ball State student, we each have our own section, so
for me, I am music and movement. Someone else has science.
Someone has arts. All types of different things. So things range from playing tag
to painting rocks or making catapults, so it just ranges all over the board of
all types of fun stuff that we do these kiddos. We had boat races, stuff like that, and
then we did the horses, so they’ve been learning how to ride the horses.
We made pinch pots all last week. This week, we’re glazing them and then we also
do a different craft to go along with the theme of everyday. They have a daily
theme each day, so each day they were choosing a place- place to be around the
world. So, they did a desert theme. They were in the ocean one day. Just different themes
to incorporate to kind of bring all the events together.
Camping. Tomorrow’s rain forests. Last week, we had ocean and the Arctic. They’ve
really been enjoying camp. I feel like a camper myself just because they bring
out the kid in me, so yeah, they’ve definitely been enjoying it. They have
looked forward every day to doing the activities and the crafts. The first thing
they asked when they come in, “What are we doing today?” At the end of the day,
actually, they’ll start asking, as they’re getting ready to go home, “What
are we gonna be doing in the morning? What is our theme of tomorrow?” and so
they’re like, “Well, what are we gonna do in the craft or what are we doing in
science? Are we gonna ride the horses?” The kids come in every day so excited to do
all of the activities, especially swimming and riding the horses. They walk
into the other activities and find that they’re surprised about how much they
love it. Oh my goodness, these kids every day, like I said, every day, they just open
up more and more. Seeing them on the first day be kind of shy and a little
timid and just like a little nervous but then as the days goes on, they seem to
just have more and more fun, the more comfortable they get. So like today, we’re
halfway through the second week and every single child today had a smile on
their face when we said good morning and so to me, that shows that they’re
having a good time and they’re excited to come back the next day, so. The most
rewarding thing for me is being able to come outside of Mississippi
(I’ve never been to Indiana before) and I’ve only been an online graduate student,
but this camp gives me that chance to have hands-on and to actually connect
with students and most importantly for me, to network and make those connections and
friendships that I can take back to Mississippi, so that when I start the
camp, I’ve got resources and people to look to and be like, “How do I do this?” Some of these kids are hilarious and
it’s been amazing to see them open up and come out of their shell. I love
coming to these camps and just forming relationships with them, getting to know
them. Everyone’s so different. Everyone’s so unique. Everyone has their different
likes, their different dislikes, so my most rewarding for me is just making that
footprint in their lives and just making a change in their lives, helping them, you
know, discover who they are, what they like, what they don’t like, and just
making this like the best two weeks of their summer. That that’s been my goal, so,
I think we’ve done a pretty good job of doing that, so, That’s just felt really
rewarding for me is seeing their smiles, seeing them have fun, and just kind of
let loose and get more comfortable as the days goes on, so. I think, just like
seeing them grow throughout the two weeks. they go from like not wanting to
touch things or like participate to being really excited to. I really hope
the Ball State students really get the feeling of what it feels like to be
included for these kids, so, that these kids are included, they’re accepted, and
that they feel welcome in a place that they can be safe. Because I’ve never had
experience with special-needs kids before and now I don’t have to be
nervous, I know what I’m getting into and I can be comfortable around all types of
kids. I think it helps me to understand how different students work and how to
teach to a group of diverse learners. Working with these children has really
taught me a lot, taught me a lot about myself, how I am as
a person and how I am as a teacher, so that, being here has really just taught
me a lot and taught me how everyone’s unique. Everyone has their own way of
doing things. Everyone has their own likes, their own dislikes, so that’s
really gonna help me in my future classroom to make sure I have an all
inclusive classroom with everyone, no matter who you are where you come from,
anything like that, so, this camp has really helped me a lot,
I must say.

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