san fran stacks up at the ranch
The folks down in the Bay have been extremely busy this past week. After Stacking Up with the folks at Rohnert Park Veteran Center on Friday for a night of gaming with their veteran community they went out Saturday afternoon for a day of volunteer work at the Morgan Horse Ranch. Read on to hear more about the day and how they Stack Up in the Bay!
Wow. After our event on Saturday on July 23, 2016, in support of Stack-Up’s Call to Arms weekend, I am left with a whole new appreciation for the efforts demonstrated by the San Francisco Bay Area Stack. The Rohnert Park Veteran Center alerted us to a volunteer event at the Morgan Horse Ranch in Point Reyes, CA. The Morgan Horse Ranch is primarily an all-volunteer ranch that was in need of assistance cleaning out the barn’s loft of many years of equipment piled up over time. We sprang into action with six ready and willing volunteers. Donning our masks, we began our work.
We were working alongside the Rohnert Park Veteran Center, Project Hope personnel, and the National Park Service. We began to clean the cobwebs from top to bottom in the loft. A few people were tasked with taking garbage to the dumpster and some were tasked with taking equipment hanging from the rafters down. The loft was beginning to take shape. The “door hatches” on both sides of the barn were fixed so that they could be opened and suddenly we had plenty of fresh crisp Pacific Ocean air flooding in with the bright morning light. The ladies there directed us in what was to be thrown out and what was to be hung up on the nail boards on the wall.
For a little over two hours, everyone was buzzing with work and the room began to take shape. The floor began to clear and it allowed for better movement throughout the loft. Eventually, we were able to move a picnic table that had been in a corner to the center of the room and large pieces of plywood were placed in the rafters.
The final step was to sweep the entire floor of all the dust and cobwebs that had fallen to the floor. Once we completed that, we made our way down the stairs to marvel at the beauty that is Morgan Horse Ranch. There are gorgeous rolling hills and sight lines. The Ranch houses four horses right now; two that can be ridden and two that cannot. The Morgan Horse Ranch gives older horses a second life with the help of Project Hope through Equine Therapy.
San Francisco Bay Area Stack Co-Lead Anthony has personally taken part in equine therapy and cannot say enough good things about it. “I took part in Equine Therapy last fall where we started the morning learning about horses and the signs that they give when you interact with them. We took the horses out of their stalls and gave them a proper grooming. This allowed both us and the horse to become acquainted. The horses were then brought to a large pen where we worked on walking them around. It was an amazing experience being able to lead such a large animal. The horse that I worked with trusted me to lead it and it was an empowering experience for both of us. The horse I worked with helped take the weight of the world off of my shoulders. I did not realize it then, though.
It was once I was home that I really felt the impact of equine therapy. I am not a napping type person. They make me feel terrible when I wake up. However, on this day, I went home and fell asleep. I was exhausted but in a good way. I was in such a state of relaxation; I began to drool in my sleep. When I had awakened, I felt refreshed and in almost a euphoric state. I highly recommend equine therapy to any person or veteran that wishes to enter a similar state of relaxation.”
Two horses were brought out to join us for a few moments. We were able to take pictures and pet the horses while they were there. Horses are extremely elegant animals and are incredibly intuitive. After the horses left, the National Park Service, Project Hope, and the Rohnert Park Veteran Center provided lunch for us and we all sat together discussing the days’ work. We could not have asked for a better day and volunteer event.
We were invited back anytime we want and that there are more projects that the Morgan Horse Ranch would love to have us help with. The Rohnert Park Veteran Center has also mentioned work at a local food bank and Toys for Tots down the road as events that they would love Stack-Up to assist with. San Francisco Stack Member Tanya had this to say about volunteering for Stack-Up:
“I volunteered to do some work for the Rohnert Park Veteran Center with two misconstrued ideas: I had to do abhorrent volunteer work to “earn” my place at Stack-Up, (instead only showing up to play video games and eat delicious barbequed food), and that I would have a terrible time doing it, (as manual labor is not my forte).
For once in my life, I am so happy to say that I was so wrong. Volunteering was dirty work, and there was a lot of spooky spiders, but we were working as a team.
We cracked jokes, and developed relationships, in exchange for donating a little time and effort for a positive impact. We ended up with dirt on noses, and cobwebs became an unintentional fashion statement, but seeing the gratitude from the awesome individuals at the Rohnert Park Veteran Center, Project Hope, and the National Park Service, made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. On top of that, they cooked us more tasty barbecue (I swear that’s not why I’m here), and we learned about how amazingly beneficial equine therapy is for the veterans we are trying to help. We also got to pet some horses while enjoying the beautiful weather, in the company of even more beautiful people. Stack-Up is becoming a second family to me, and I look forward to the next event we share. â™¡ “
What an amazing job out there in San Francisco! Way to Stack Up! Sounds like another amazingly successful event out there in the Bay! If you would like to get involved and are in the San Fransisco area hit up the San Fran Stack HERE! Not in the Bay area, no worries we have Stacks all over the country, hit this LINK to find out more and STackTFUp in your town today!