Alexis Jimenez

Service 1/27/2014

During Club Rush, I worked at a booth with several other students for Spanish Club. Club Rush is the event in the school calendar to get students to join a new club or two. I helped pass out a note-card sized announcement with the flag of Mexico on one side and interesting facts about the country on the other side. Everyone in our club helped to come up with the design of the paper we were passing out.
As we passed out our facts, we also gave out Mexican candy. I was shocked to discover that Mexican candy was new for many students. We answered questions and explained what the club is like and some of the activities we do. All the things we did were to inform students and help them decide if it was in their best interest to join Spanish club.
After Club Rush, I can definitely say that more students signed up for the club than have actually shown up for meetings or activities. This is a little surprising because I get the feeling students do not see the usefulness of clubs and may be thinking of it only as a status symbol. Some students no longer view clubs as an opportunity to learn more about culture or a way to advance in classes, and do not see the real value in being in a club.

Service 1/27/2014

During the summer, in August, my barn hosted a four day summer camp lasting from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., which included several field trips for the children. The field trips were to an equine clinic and a horse pasture that was a short walking distance from the barn. As a volunteer, I was entrusted with the safety of the children as they traveled from one destination to another, and while they were visiting the new location.
Our first trip was to the equine clinic down the road. We made sure that each child was holding the hand of a volunteer or another child, and gave them each a snack and water bottle. When we arrived at the clinic, the staff escorted us into the office. We were then taken into a conference and seated at a long table. One of the medical assistants produced the skulls of a horse and pony. As she explained the differences in the sizes, the children were very attentive and fascinated. She passed the skulls around to the children, allowing them to touch and examine something that is foreign to them. We then proceeded to the feed room. The children learned the importance of the different types of horse feed and the importance of each. I was amazed at how excited the children became when they touched and felt the horse feed. The smell and texture of the different types of feed was something entirely new to them. Next, we visited a surgery room and were able to see the lift used to pick up a horse during an operation. They also let the children into a viewing room up at the top and they could then see into the surgery room where they had previously been. The last stop was to visit horses that were in the clinics care. The children were able to see how horse medicine is administered, which frightened some of them. The staff also let the children feed the horses and pet them. At the end of the tour, the children thanked the clinic staff for allowing them to visit and learn about the medical care provided to horses. We then escorted the children back to the barn.
For another field trip, during summer camp, we took the children to visit a horse pasture that was also a short distance from our barn. We gathered up all the children, making sure they each had someone holding their hands and a snack for later. We then proceeded on our journey to visit the pasture. When we arrived the children became very excited to see so many horses out in the fields. It was hard to keep them under control. They all had the urge to run and yell for one another even though we were all still right next to each other. My trainer began to explain the different reasons for why horses are out in a pasture. She explained a majority of these horses were retired from their work and put here to live out the rest of their days happily in a field full of grass. Other horses were recovering from an injury and needed time to heal. The last group of horses out in the pasture was there simply because they had nowhere else to go. The kids happily ate their snacks and even pet a few of the horses. We then got all of the children together and headed back for the barn.
Keeping track of so many children has proven to be very stressful at times. Ensuring their safety is a big responsibility and is also a little scary when you think about it. The children do not realize all the dangerous situations they could end up in and can only see the fun-side of everything. Also, having them maintain their manners, such as saying thank you or having patience until their turn is another big responsibility. Supervising children takes maturity and good judgment. Both of these are important qualities every young adult needs when working with children. However, watching the kids learn about a living creature that is so complex and different from any pet they have at home makes it all worth it. It is also different to learn from a hands-on experience rather than a book, making the entire field-trip much more exciting and interesting.

Service 1/27/2014

During the summer, one week in July, my barn hosted a summer camp that was from Tuesday to Friday and lasted from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. However for this week of summer camp I was only able to volunteer from Wednesday to Friday. I would get there at 8 a.m. along with the other volunteers and begin to set up. The children would then begin to arrive around 8:30 a.m. After they had all arrived we got out the ponies and began getting them ready for riding. Since there were nine children during this week of camp, we decided to divide them into three groups so there were three children to each pony. The first group would ride for twenty-five minutes, and then the next group would get on the ponies. When the last group finished, the children would help us in removing the riding equipment and giving each pony a bubble bath. Afterwards, the children would receive a snack, followed by a group play activity which allowed them to learn more about horses. The last activity offered to the children was an arts and crafts project where the children would create their own version of a horse with paper plates, socks, ribbon, and empty water bottles.
There was one child, named Veronica, who was extremely intimidated by the ponies. When she first got on the pony, I saw she was very scared and nervous. Although she wanted to ride, Veronica became very anxious every time the pony began to move or cough. I was right next to her, alongside the pony. Volunteers need to hold the lead rope for each pony the entire time; this helps the children to feel safer while giving us full control over the ponies. I would constantly offer words of encouragement to motivate Veronica and push her to continue riding. By the end of her twenty-five minute session, she had broken free from her nervous shell. As the summer camp went on, she became much more comfortable on the pony and was even trying to convince me to let go of the lead rope so she could steer by herself.
Looking back at this moment, I can see how important it is to motivate and encourage children. They can do more when they know you believe in them. I also learned that patience is a very important skill when trying to get someone to do something new for the first time. At times it can be hard not to get a little frustrated when something seems easy to do, yet, for a child, sitting on a pony and getting him to walk over a set of poles seems to be extremely terrifying and almost impossible.

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