MIDDLEBURY — LoveWay is seeking volunteers for its summer camps to serve as horse leaders and side walkers, as well as to help with crafts and photography.
The Middlebury-based not-for-profit agency provides therapeutic equestrian programs for people with special needs.
Volunteers must be at least 16 and should be capable of walking on uneven ground for at least 30 minutes.
Chris Stice, assistant program manager and PATH-certified instructor at LoveWay, said the agency is seeking at least 50 volunteers for its summer camp sessions.
Volunteers do not need to have horse experience, she said, because the organization will provide training sessions.
“And if a person is uncomfortable with horses, we can find other things for them to do that isn’t horse-related,” she said. “We always need side walkers – those who walk next to children and adults when they’re riding their horses.”
LoveWay’s summer camps are weeklong camps, usually from 9 a.m. to noon, for children ages 6 through 14. Summer camp weeks start June 18 and run most weeks through the end of July.
There are both therapeutic riding summer camp weeks and camp weeks for children without special needs.
Stice said volunteers play an instrumental role in the summer camp sessions because without them, she said, the organization wouldn’t be able to function.
“We have a very small staff and the staff cannot do everything – we need to get these kids and adults on horseback,” Stice said.
Stice said volunteering may also help people with discovering their future careers.
“Most of our staff at LoveWay started as volunteers and it just got under our skin so much that we had to continue with it and winded up getting jobs here,” she said. “It’s something that’s very rewarding, and being able to help someone else and watching these kids get that joy when they get on a horse just warms your heart and there’s nothing else like it.”
LoveWay’s 29-acre center is between Bristol and Middlebury, with an indoor arena, outdoor arena, outdoor riding trails and about 20 horses.
Other volunteers assist with morning and afternoon feeding, weeding, brush trimming, mowing, office projects, photography and technology – mornings, afternoons and some evenings.