The psychological effects of working with horses can be beneficial for young people with behavioural problems and other issues.
Recognizing this, Constables Mike Skelhorne and Terri-Ann Pencarinha of 13 Division applied for a ProAction Cops & Kids unding to take 15 girls from the St. Nicholas of Bari School on a five-day summer trip to Fallbrook Trail Ranch in Georgetown.
The group left on July 27.
“They were selected based on the fact that they were experiencing some problems in school,” said Skelhorne, who has been with the Service for 13 years. “Working with horses will help to improve their self-esteem and teach them the value and benefits of working in a team.”
Skelhorne said the camp has already paid off for one student.
“She refused to go on a horse at first but, when she mustered the confidence, she didn’t only ride well but also won a competition,” he said.
In addition to riding horses twice a day, the students swim and they learned to build a camp fire on which they cooked.
“These kids are having the time of their lives,” added Skelhorne, a School Resource Officer. “It’s gone from them not knowing what to expect when they first arrived to a comfort level with them. They are very engaged and just having a great time.”
The participants’ ages range from 11-13.
Since its inception in 1991, ProAction Cops & Kids has become the largest private funder of Toronto Police programs for young people.