Youth Development

Today’s youth are facing many new and challenging obstacles. Spirit Song’s Youth Development programs provide unique and fun learning opportunities outside of the traditional venues. The barn and arena settings offer teens a space to receive valuable feedback and education from our amazing equine partners.

As prey animals, horses are acutely aware of their surroundings, for their safety and the safety of the herd. Consequently, horses can provide direct and immediate responses to our actions, or lack thereof. This is something we do not usually get from people. Our facilitators teach participants how to look for and interpret the horse’s body-language feedback and make beneficial changes in their approach and interaction that promote positive connections. Parallels between interactions with equines and those in human relationships are explored, fostering awareness and action steps that can bring about positive shifts in human relationships.

Building Blocks I is a 10-week program that assists teens in exploring important qualities of self, such as confidence, self-esteem, and values. Through unmounted activities with horses, participants work together with facilitators to explore these important aspects of personal development. Participants are taught to look for feedback from the horses about how they are showing up, as well as how to reflect on what can be learned from those interactions. Our hope is that our participants will gain new insights to learning, moving forward “out of the gate” and into real-life settings and situations with newly acquired life skills.

Building Blocks II, also a 10-week course, expands upon this learning, while also exploring the ways in which we interact with others. Significant topics include establishing and respecting boundaries, building trust, and discovering aspects of communication and connection that bring about positive outcomes in relationships with peers and family members. The coaching model and processing methods that are used in these sessions provide teens with a clear and constructive method of working through challenges that occur in everyday life, assisting them in decision-making toward positive outcomes.