Our Speaker was Jennifer Wassan of Windrush Farm, a nonprofit horse farm in North Andover specializing in teaching physically, emotionally, and learning disabled children and adults to ride and work with horses.
  • Jennifer Wasson, speaker
  • Gino Frattillone, Littleton club
  • Kristin Flickstrom, RYLA student and speaker
  • Nathaniel French, RYLA student and speaker
First on the agenda was a talk from Kristin and Nathaniel, since Nathaniel had to go to work and couldn’t stay for the rest of the meeting. They began by thanking our club for the fantastic opportunity to increase and broaden their leadership abilities, which are sure to take them far in their futures: team building, public speaking, understanding what leadership is and the styles of leadership, as well as making new friends.
Activities included a survival course: each student was handicapped in some way (blindfolded, sound-canceling earphones, legs tied together, etc.) and had to navigate an obstacle course with the help of everyone else. A Rotary Expo helped explain what Rotary is and its importance. “Bashing Barriers” was the opportunity to do what they thought was impossible: to break a board using only their hands.
Kristin’s closing remarks: “I really appreciated the opportunity to attend RYLA which refined my leadership skills, bolstered my confidence, and created new friendships.  I would love to be a Group Facilitator next year to pass on the the amazing experience!  Once again, thank you for investing in me by your sponsorship!”
  • Update on Hudson Brewfest: The Brewfest was a success; but our expenses were greater this year than in the past, because of renting an extra tent and having to pay the brewers. We’re still totaling the receipts.
  • Repair café: The next one is September 24; volunteers are still needed, especially anyone who can fix anything.
Happy/sad fines:
  • Maryann: is happy to be back
  • Nanci: is happy that the Brewfest came off so well.
  • Bob: The Bolton Fair was not as well attended as in past years (a combination of heat and rain), but still enjoyable.
  • Gino: is happy to be here.
  • Ron: is happy that his son is back from Outward Bound, a different person.
  • Laura: told a story of her son’s long and tangled adventures getting back to Santa Barbara.
  • Leigh: is sad about the murder in Princeton, but glad that the town has rallied and come together.
The mission: “Windrush expands and enriches the personal, emotional, and physical abilities of all those we serve, by partnering with our horses and the environment.” Their clientele is very diverse: children with learning disabilities, veterans, youth at risk, survivors of human trafficking, and bereavement groups. The principal activity is teaching horseback riding and grooming. Staying on and controlling a 1000 pound animal teaches responsibility, self-esteem, self-confidence, and teamwork.  It also helps cognitive skills, and social bonding.  Another program is unmounted activity, principally for veterans and human trafficking survivors, involving relationship building and trust building.
Windrush is in its 52nd year. They were one of the first therapeutic horse centers in the US and helped grow the industry in the US and internationally. They’re now a premier accredited center (one of the highest accreditation rankings).  In 1985 they had their first class from Perkins School for the Blind. In 1992 they were chosen to host the Special Olympcs and have continued ever since.  In 2007 they became associated with “Horses for Heroes.” Last year they served almost 3000 individuals.
Windrush has 24 horses. To become accepted, the owners must be interviewed, complete an application; the horse must be inspected, and brought to Windrush for a two-month trial. Only 10% of horses are accepted. The horse must, of course, be healthy; travel at different speeds; have the right personality  (calm, not react to a rider who suddenly screams or moves around); tolerate many people (most horses bond with only one or two people); have a comfortable seat and easy gait; know when to listen to a guide and when the listen to the rider. Intuition is also important. One day a well-trained horse stopped and refused to move; the rider then had a seizure, which the horse knew in advance.
Costs: Clients generally pay a quarter of the costs, although some programs are free. The remaining three quarters come through fundraising. The annual budget is 1.2 million.
The talk closed with a short video, available on YouTube: Extraordinary Relationships