Kicking Off Our Re-Boots

While Johnny and I were putting Re-Boot Camp® together, we got A LOT of positive feedback (and help!) from friends and family.  It occurs to me that all of you caring, wonderful people are probably interested in how things are going so far.

First and foremost: some tremendous “Thank-you!”s are in order:  Glanbia Foods, Inc. provided all of the funds that have made this first Re-Boot Camp® possible with the $40,000.00 contribution they made this year:  this has paid to bring in the very best professionals in the modalities we are using (seriously…these mental health professionals are AMAZING), the facility, the food—everything.  The folks at Rob Greene Twin Falls very happily volunteered a van to transport the veterans who came over from the Boise area.  And last (for now) but certainly not least, the people at Intermountain Christian Camp—the facility we are using—have been completely wonderful.  They have been accommodating and flexible and the food has been just fabulous.

We are three quarters through our second full day and what an experience it has already been!  We have eight men participating in treatment this week and each one of them has now had at least two sessions of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP); at least 3 hours of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), 2 hours of training in the Community Resiliency Model (CRM), 3 hours of Tai Chi/Qi Gong (pronounced “Chee- Gong”—so we’ve affectionately termed the combo specially designed for us by Sifu Donald Perry, “Tai Chi Gong”), half a dozen wonderful meals, a lot of great conversations, and countless cups of coffee.

While the first evening and most of yesterday we had rain and overcast skies, we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day in the foothills than we’ve had today.  The morning started with a vibrant double rainbow during our morning Tai Chi Gong, and now the sun is shining and several of the guys are out collecting firewood for tonight’s campfire.  We’re all enjoying a little “down time” before dinner, having completed all of our sessions for the day.

I wanted to share an awesome story from horse therapy today:  Johnny and I asked the guys to move a horse from one end of the arena to the other…tail-first.  For those of you who don’t know very much about horses, understand that though horses can see almost a full 360 degrees around their heads, they cannot see immediately behind or in front of themselves.  So getting a prey animal to back up at the insistence of a super predator like a human requires no small degree of patience and leadership.

After the guys had spent a little time trying their own solutions to the task (with varying levels of success), we ran through some leadership skills with them to improve their “luck.”  One that we always stress is the importance of being assertive, without being aggressive.  I’ve taught these contrasting traits at least 3 dozen times at this point in my career with Idaho Horse Therapy, and I’ve never had a client understand it as well as one of our veterans who said, “the difference between being assertive with someone, and being aggressive with them is that being assertive is saying ‘it’s about me,’ being aggressive is saying ‘it’s about YOU.’”

Meanwhile, one man who has suffered from pain he had accepted as chronic since returning from his last tour felt such relief after an EMDR session this afternoon that this evening he went for a 4-mile hike.  And the guys who collected firewood?  He was among them.

Truthfully, as much time and energy as I personally have put into helping Johnny put this thing together, I’m not sure I even completely believed what I would see here.  But I trusted Johnny and I knew we had the best people in the various fields on-board, and I knew we had to do something.  Just in Idaho, there are hundreds and thousands of service men and women going without real help.  And now I am astounded to see the way these modalities are working together to really Re-Boot these 8 men’s lives.  This is it, this is real.  We can really provide this change for them.  It’s an honor to be a part of something so truly transformative and I am completely inspired to turn this project into a self-sustained program, so that we can help more veterans more often.

I’m off for now—the grub’s smelling too good to hold off another minute, but we’ll check in again soon.  If you want to know more about our program, want to contribute so that we can hold more of these, or know someone who might be in need of Re-Boot Camp, please contact us:

karla@idahohorsetherapy.com.

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