ABILENE, Texas — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , a little over 30% of adults with special needs experienced frequent mental distress. As we all know, this month, May, is Mental Health Awareness Month, and that includes the mental health of marginalized groups. However, have you thought about therapy sessions with a four legged friend? Four-legged as in a 1,500 pound horse. Well, at Camp Able, you have the option to do this with their therapeutic riding center.
“We offer a place where the children that start with us can grow and become as independent as they possibly can,” said Lota Zoth, the Volunteer Executive Director for Camp Able.
Camp Able of Buffalo Gap cultivates healthy and independent living for those with special needs through skills-based training and therapy. They do this by incorporating horses and other animals with their therapy sessions, among other things. For most people, this would be a great way to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month. However, Zoth says that they celebrate mental health frequently.
“We celebrate that everyday and yes May highlights that but we’re all about helping individuals achieve the maximum amount of independence that they can in this life. Of course we have to be very aware of mental health issues and we try to work with the mental health professionals to help use equine therapy to address those issues and hopefully help the individual solve those issues to the extent that they can,” said the Executive Director.
The non-profit focuses on using horses that have been rescued from challenging circumstances. 85% of Camp Able’s participants are school-aged children, the remainder are primarily military veterans. They are able to help and support these groups from the different sessions that they offer.
The donations from the Abilene community and from others helps bring the non-profit closer to their mission and goals.
The Buffalo Run adventure Challenge of 2021 and 2022 has helped the non-profit raise money to help further reach their goal. Zoth says she cannot wait to do it again this coming week.
“Last year the gross earned was 216 thousand. So, here we are in 2023,” said Zoth.
“There are 40 teams who have already signed up to participate. It actually takes off on Old Settlers Town and Buffalo Gap on Thursday, June 1st, so this Thursday at 6 PM,” said the Executive Volunteer.
“The destination is Abilene-Kansas. So it’s Abilene, Texas to Abilene, Kansas. There are challenges on the way,” said Zoth.
These challenges are not ordinary challenges.
“The way the challenges are mapped out you do have to do a circle, so it’s not just to Abilene, Texas and straight back,” said Zoth.
Zoth tells us all of the exciting activities that comes along the challenge.
“There are a number of fun things along the way. You can follow it all on the Buffalo Run Adventure Challenge Facebook page if you’d like; It’s really a lot of fun,” said the Executive.
Camp Able is doing a lot for the community currently and only plans to continue to do so.
“I’m really excited about the future plans that we have now. This farm that we are on now, we bought this in 2019 and we knew that we needed to have this so that we could grow our facilities,” said Zoth.
“All we do right now is in the great outdoors. We don’t have any covered space but we are about to erect a 1,500 square foot covered practice arena,” Zoth stated to us during the interview.
“So it will be a roof with open walls so that we will have the opportunity to train our horses as well as use it when we need to when the weather is not suitable to be in the great outdoors,” stated the Executive Director of Camp Able.
Zoth and the rest of Camp Able say that they are happy that the Key City community has been a great support system for them.
“It’s important that I acknowledge that this community has been very giving to Camp Able. Camp Able would not be Possible without all of the donations by this community and even people outside of the community,” Zoth proudly stated.
“We also have a tremendous number of volunteers. We have more people who want to volunteer than the ability to put them to use right now but, we are just so bless that we have both, people who are winning to give financial resources and people who also want to give us their time,” said Zoth.
“We are just grateful to be a part of this Abilene community,” Zoth proclaimed.
For those who are interested in helping Camp Able reach their goal, feel free to visit their website at camp-able.org
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