Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Christian Horse Camp for Disabled People

This is how we started in 2013:
The first camp, which was organized under the Marossárpataki Revival Association, was all made possible thanks to András Simon, Zoltán Dohi and István Jancso.  The camp took place in August and it was organized at the Harghita Christian Camp, as it is endowed with specialized opportunities for wheelchair accessible transport which is a unique thing in Transylvania.  The event, bearing the name Christian Horse Camp, just started with twenty participants, including the disabled, accompanying, volunteers and groom riders. In addition to riding, the campers could participate on various Christian camp programs, devotions and spiritual practices. The riding was assured by two horses. The first camp thus posed a challenge for the organizers because of lack of experience which made it difficult to put the campers into riding. The lack of adequate equipment, however, drew attention to the disabled's needs and served as a lesson for the future. Despite the difficulties, both participants and the organizers had but positive experiences and achievements. At the request of the participants, the organizers have decided that the following year they would organize it again and even better.

So we continued in 2014:
The first camp's success involved the organization of next year's camp, which had provided an opportunity for forty participants to relax in a both physical and mental development. The horse riding camp was once again hosted by the Harghita Christian camp. Since last year's feedback to the organizers warned that in addition to the spiritual edification, physical prosperity is in high demand, so the second camp started with a reverant every morning to please the participants. The quiet, spiritual occasions were held by invited pastors. Dr. László Hajdi, from Vácrátótró, Hungary, was also invited to participate in the week's events and he gave good advices to the disabled, as well to the grooms. The special saddle and the harness which he brought with him made the riding much easier, as the belt and the four insurance strap prevented the riders from falling off the horses. This year, new programs have been added like movie watching, singing, common games, and therapeutic massage. The massage occupied a prominent place among the new programs, as this greatly contributed to the development of muscles which were agitated during riding.

In 2015:
It goes without saying that in the next year all the previous campers, as well as new people with disabilites have expressed their wish to participate at the horse  riding camp. The third camp, assured the presence for nearly seventy participants. Compared to the previous camps, in 2015  a new organization attended the camp: the Reformed Church from Radnótfája.
The church youth group actively participated in the camp life as volunteers helping the disabled with horse riding and also during other various events making it easier for the organizers and allowing them to catch a break. However, in return for their help the youngsters left the one week Harghita camp, with significant spiritual growth, because the development of their social sensitivity contributed very much the opportunities to help besides other common programs with disabled.
Also a novelty of this year's camp was the establishment of small groups, which gave the opportunity to strengthen the relationship between the disabled and the young volunteers. These small group gatherings provided spiritual healing through everyday conversations, which was held by a team leader. As for the horse riding, this year the presence of the Mountain Rescue Service from Marosvásárhely has been very helpful with specialized equipment facilitated via the volunteers to ease putting the campers on the back of the horses.
It was an incredible and heartwarming feeling to see how the disabled were riding on their own in the saddle, experiencing the freedom that was reflected in their smiling faces towards the outside world. The will to act, serenity and vitality radiated from their eyes. At the end of the camp it was obvious that the participants learned a lot from each other and about each other. The open hearts and endless love forged a strong community.

In 2016:
Established in 2016, Forward Sports Association, the Marossárpataki Revival Association and the Radnótfáji Reformed Christian Church organized the fourth horse riding camp in the first week of August. This time ninety disabled people, their helpers, and volunteers could participate in the seven-day lasting retreat and somatic. The theme of the fourth camp was ‚Togetherness’, which is not limited to the disabled, but to their caring relatives and friendly volunteers also, with their infinite power of love and patience. Once again the Mountain Rescue Service from Marosvásárhely provided the necessary help to make twice daily horse riding easy. The masseurs and team leaders with heart and soul carried out the tasks entrusted to them again. Thus all the campers who have already taken part several times in the camp, as well the ones who were present for the first time, got enriched with an unforgettable experience. The Radnótfáji Reformed Church's youngsters have now become bolder, more enthusiastic and more willing to participate in programs and assistance.
The consistency and harmony between disabled and abled participants can be considered almost perfect and the small groups open and honest conversations prove that. A stripped of inhibitions, breaking through the walls and liberation were the new results of the 2016 camp. On every morning druring the seven day camp the priests talked about togetherness and that feeling was truly present among the campers throughout the week. Such a beautiful experience we look forward to this year's camp too...

More  pictures over   here

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