1. I have never been around Horses before. Can I still help and is there training?
Yes, we would like all of our volunteers to be able to work with the kids and the horses, so they can change back and forth. We have a barn manager that will assist with horse training. So, you do not have to be a horse expert or 30 years of experience to help at RTW !!!
2. I’d like to volunteer but I’ve never worked on a ranch before. Is there training?
You’re in luck! Since the Ride To Walk ranch is primarily a therapeutic facility, most of our patrons come to us with no history of being around horses. Each of them is carefully guided to become comfortable with being around horses and then, of course, to ride them. Similarly, the many roles our volunteers fill allow a volunteer to start with no ranch experience and then, gradually through training and experience, work through all of the working areas of a ranch he or she is interested in.
3. I’d like to volunteer but I’ve never been around special needs children before. What can I do?
Special Needs children are really no different than any other children – and we all started out as children. The primary things they need are your patience and to feel that you care. As the old saying goes, “They don’t care how much you know. They just want to know how much you care.”
With your attitude of caring as a starting point, the Ride To Walk staff will educate you on how to behave with the kids when you are asked to be around them.
4. I’m a senior citizen. How can I help?
Many of our volunteers are senior citizens – just check out some of the photographs on our volunteer page. As long as you can walk and you enjoy being around kids, we can find somewhere for you to help.
One role, for example, that you’ll find many of our senior citizen volunteers in is the role of side walker. This is when the volunteer (one on each side) walks alongside a horse and braces the patient’s legs so that he or she doesn’t fall out of the saddle during therapy. It may sound strange but it’s really easy, fun and, most say, rewarding.
Also, we have fundraisers that we always need help with. See question about other volunteer opportunities available.
5. I’m a college student. How can I help?
We love college students! Remember that responsibility is a key component to any type of work environment, at RTW you have the ability to obtain multiple areas of discipline and work ethics
While all of our volunteer opportunities are available to college students, if you’re still discerning what you want to be when you grow up (like many of us already grown up), or what field of study to focus on in school, exposure to the Ride To Walk program is for you:
The business side of a charity,
Running a ranch & caring for horses,
Hippotherapy including Occupational Therapy & Physical Therapy,
Possible internships available
6. Are there any qualifications to volunteering?
While the many roles our volunteers fill allow a volunteer to start with no ranch experience and then, gradually through training and experience, work through all of the working areas of a ranch he or she is interested in, the therapy volunteers are expected to meet some minimum qualifications.
Riding Therapy Volunteer Qualfications:
Must be physically able to work a 3 ½ hour session.
Must be able to make cognitive decisions and capable of learning and understanding written material.
Volunteers need to make a commitment to one riding session per week for a 6-month period.
Volunteers need to be at least 16 years old and at least 5 feet tall.
Complete the mandatory training sessions.
We encourage our volunteers to understand our riders disabilities and how they can best be helped in the therapy sessions. We want you to be a part of their life, not just a volunteer. These kids depend on consistency with the same person to be able to get past their inhibitations sometimes and they will totally grow on you!
Our program needs volunteer workers for many times but most critical, for all of the riding therapy sessions. The current schedule for our regular riding therapy sessions is set forth below. We schedule volunteer workers for the riding therapy sessions based on the volunteer’s skills and interests as well as our program needs.
Wednesday: 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Thursday: 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday: 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
7. Can my volunteer hours be counted as credit towards educational requirements?
Yes, sometimes, depending on if it’s an internship or credit hours. Internships go thru Dr. Kris Corn.
The office staff here at the ranch keeps track of credit hours for when you are here and we will be glad to fill out the necessary paper work for you to receive credit.
8. What kinds of volunteers are you looking for?
Our riding therapy session volunteers fill a special role in the therapy sessions. Each rider receives one thirty minute riding session per week tailored to his/her individual needs. The riders enjoy and look forward to seeing their volunteers week after week. Many friendships and special bonds are formed during these sessions. This program is a rewarding and exciting experience for both the rider and the volunteer. We also are seeking volunteers to support our fundraising efforts, helping us secure raffle items, donations of wine and working at our events.
9. I’m pretty good on the phone. Do you need support there?
Yes !.. We are always looking for persons to help on the phone to solicit for funding events, other events, any phone contacts, emails. There is always something for you to do.
10. I have great office skills. Do you need someone to do office/clerical work?
Sometimes we do, depending on what events/activities are going on at the time. If you are proficient in a certain area (excel, power point, etc), we can use those abilities to assist in making the office run more efficiently or to complete a project in a timely manner.
11. I have great carpentry/landscape/electrical/trade skills. Do you need someone with those skills?
We often have projects that need to be done on the property. Terry Campbell is our property manager and he oversees these projects. Persons with any type of construction trade experience are always welcome. And we always want to talk to those with equipment connections.
12. What other volunteer opportunities are available?
Videographer: Volunteer is responsible for working with our therapists to record individual rider therapy sessions at regular intervals during the calendar year so that we can document and track each rider’s progress in the program. Experience with video and other recording media is required. Volunteer needs to be at least 18 years old.
Additional Help: Volunteers with various skills are needed on a consistent basis to work at various special event fund-raisers, including our annual VW Car Show and Ranch Run, Boots & Scoots BBQ & Barn Dance and to assist in the upkeep of the Ride To Walk property. If you have a particular skill, expertise or interest (i.e. writing letters for newsletters, photography, public speaking, etc.) that you would like to share, Ride To Walk can use your help!