Wilmington College is offering area children, including five from Highland County, with disabilities an opportunity to attend a summer Therapeutic Riding Camp that is designed to provide them with both a recreational and therapeutic experience.
Students and staff members in WC’s Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) program and Agriculture/Equine Studies Department will lead a week (July 10-14) of therapeutic horse-riding and hands-on agricultural activities specially designed for children with disabilities.
A Sponsor a Camper drive is seeking financial gifts to fund this unique experience and offset costs associated with equipment, insurance and other operating expenses. The Highland County Community Fund of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio and the I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund contributed $1,500 to sponsor five Highland County children.
Erin Bales, assistant professor of occupational therapy, said the program strives to prepare its students to become problem-solvers and to promote community-based health and wellness in unique ways.
“The idea for the Therapeutic Riding Camp evolved as students and staff began researching recreational opportunities for youth with disabilities,” she said, noting that such options geared towards these children are often limited, particularly in rural areas. “We wanted to create an opportunity in our local area with the potential to positively impact children’s wellness and quality of life.”
Faculty/staff members in the equine, agriculture and occupational therapy areas possess the combined skills and facilities to pilot a camp this July. Bales said their goal is to financially sponsor 24 children at $300 a camper from Clinton and surrounding counties — and take that financial burden off the children’s families.
“We are hopeful that the weeklong camp will provide local children with disabilities an opportunity to experience equestrian activities in a fun and fulfilling way,” she added
The camp will provide WC equestrians and students in the agriculture and MSOT programs with a hands-on learning experience and the opportunity to serve the community. Bales said the program for youth with disabilities targets an often-underserved demographic and is consistent with the college’s MSOT program’s focus on serving rural communities. The camp also will provide caregivers and families of children with disabilities an opportunity to network and build supportive relationships.
Half-day sessions offered for 12 campers in the mornings and 12 in the afternoons are available. More information about camp registration will be available later this spring but those interested can contact Bales at
Tax-deductible donations can be made payable to Wilmington College Therapeutic Riding Camp and sent to Wilmington College, Pyle Center Box 1327, 1870 Quaker Way, Wilmington, Ohio 45177, or by calling 937-481-2264.
Submitted by Randall Sarvis, senior director of public relations, Wilmington College.